A construction company has been fined $70,000 after pleading guilty to an offence under the Mines Act stemming from an incident where two workers were killed in a truck accident at a rock quarry five years ago.
Broda Construction was sentenced in Vancouver Provincial Court last week by Judge Wilson Lee, who imposed the fine on the company for failing to provide a safe workplace at the Swansea Ridge Ballast Quarry 12 killometres south of Cranbrook.
Neil Fadden and Larry Chorneyko died at the quarry on Sept. 16, 2014, after their truck went off a steep service road, down a nine-metre drop-off and landed on the roof. Paramedics and Search and Rescue responded to a call for help, but both employees were pronounced dead on scene.
The Inspector of Mines, B.C. issued four compliance notices two years after the accident, which involved amending permits, obtaining an engineering assessment of roadways on the mine site, and requiring employees to take additional workplace safety training.
Additional recommendations from an independent engineering assessment included limiting access to a conveyor access road to tracked vehicles only, installing signage and impact attenuators — such as sand barrels — at the end of the access road and grading the road surface in certain areas.
“With that in mind, it is clear that the actual cause of the accident remains unknown,” wrote Lee, in his sentencing decision. “What steps taken by Broda Construction after the accident may have led to a safer worksite but there is no evidence that those steps relate to the cause of the accident.”
The fine is broken down into a $20,000 penalty and a $50,000 donation to Threads of Life, a charitable organization which supports families that experience a workplace fatality.
Crown counsel sought the maximum penalty of $100,000, while defence lawyers were asking for a fine of up to $20,000 with a donation to Threads of Life of up to $40,000.
Following the accident, the company spent $1 million on remedial work to fulfill the recommendations from the mines inspector.