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Heavy fine for fatal workplace accident in British Columbia

The potential for injury exists at every workplace and job site. It is crucial that employees and employers alike do all they can to ensure workers are safe while on the job and the risk of a workplace accident is minimized. When workers are not safe, watchdog organizations may step in to determine who is at fault and what their responsibilities are. This is exactly what happened to an oil and gas pipeline company in British Columbia recently.

A fatal accident took place on Dec. 1, 2015, at a work site near Pink Mountain, located in northeast British Columbia. During an attempt to assist a tanker truck down a steep grade, a bulldozer operator exited his vehicle and became pinned between the body of the vehicle and the tracks. The operator, an employee of Continental Pipeline, was killed as a result of the accident.

WorkSafeBC investigated the incident and found the company had not properly analyzed the potential hazards of the site, nor had they taken proper precautions to prevent accidents and protect employees. Despite complying with WorkSafe's recommendations, a fine of $150,000 was levied against Continental for what was viewed as a high-risk violation. The company has ceased to operate since the time of the accident.

Workers on any job site, whether high-risk or not, have the right to expect their employers have taken all reasonable steps to assess any potential risk of a workplace accident. Should a worker be seriously injured while on the job, a law firm that focuses on workers' rights in British Columbia can provide assistance. While organizations like WorkSafeBC will fine organizations, it may take a legal professional to help ensure justice for an injured worker.

Source: energeticcity.ca, "Continental Pipeline fined $150,000 by WorkSafeBC after dozer accident", Chris Newton, July 26, 2016

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