Workers weren’t pro­tected in fa­tal B.C. am­mo­nia leak: re­port

The Niagara Falls Review - - Canada & World - He Cana­dian Press

RICH­MOND, B.C. — A re­frig­er­a­tion com­pany and a mu­nic­i­pal­ity have been cited by WorkSafeBC un­der health and safety reg­u­la­tions af­ter three workers died last year when they were ex­posed to am­mo­nia at an arena in Fernie, B.C.

The work­place safety agency re­leased Wed­nes­day its 74-page in­ci­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port on the causes of the in­ci­dent at Fernie Me­mo­rial Arena on Oct. 17, 2017, so that they can be pre­vented in the fu­ture.

The provin­cial agency will now con­sider the find­ings of the re­port to de­ter­mine the ap­pro­pri­ate en­force­ment ac­tion, if any.

On its web­site, WorkSafeBC says that can in­clude fi­nan­cial penal­ties or a pros­e­cu­tion.

The re­port says the city was cited with seven vi­o­la­tions of the oc­cu­pa­tional health and safety reg­u­la­tion and one un­der the Workers' Com­pen­sa­tion Act.

WorkSafeBC says Toromont In­dus­tries Ltd., which owns re­frig­er­a­tion com­pany CIMCO, was cited with two vi­o­la­tions un­der the Workers' Com­pen­sa­tion Act.

CIMCO said it will re­view the rec­om­men­da­tions in the re­port to strengthen its poli­cies.

“In the mean­time, we are in the process of im­ple­ment­ing all of the WSBC rec­om­men­da­tions from a re­cent in­dus­try-wide au­dit in ad­di­tion to our own ini­tia­tives to up­grade our safety pol­icy,” it said in a state­ment.

“We re­main com­mit­ted to work­ing with all in­dus­try stake­hold­ers to col­lec­tively en­sure the safety of our peo­ple and the com­mu­ni­ties we serve.”

The City of Fernie said it agrees with WorkSafeBC that doc­u­men­ta­tion and in­ter­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion could be im­proved.

“Al­though we don’t see that the re­port points out any­thing spe­cific we could have done to pre­vent this tragedy, ad­min­is­tra­tion and coun­cil will take time to re­view the re­port and or­ders in de­tail to learn from it,” the city said in a state­ment.

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