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Company fined $3,500 in White Rock electrocution death

Firefighters attend the scene of a fatal workplace accident on the roof of a White Rock home in May 2009. - File photo
Firefighters attend the scene of a fatal workplace accident on the roof of a White Rock home in May 2009.
— image credit: File photo

An Aldergrove company whose worker was electrocuted on the roof of a White Rock home 2½ years ago has been fined more than $3,500 in connection with the fatality.

According to information in a recent WorkSafe BC report, L.S. Gutter Tech Ltd. was assessed a $3,598.86 penalty last May for failing to determine the voltage of nearby power lines or the distance to be maintained from them to ensure safety of the work; failing to provide workers with the necessary instruction, training and supervision; and failing to provide two young workers an orientation regarding specific hazards at the worksite. Those and other violations resulted in the worker’s death, the report states.

A 23-year-old Burnaby man was killed May 4, 2009, when a 52-foot section of gutter he was carrying struck a 14,000-volt overhead power line. The victim was part of a three-man crew working in the 15200-block of Victoria Avenue at the time. The gutter struck the wire – which was about 12 feet from the eave near where the crew was working – as the men were putting it into place.

Despite firefighters’ efforts to revive him, the worker was pronounced dead at the scene. A second worker was taken to hospital.

At the time, WorkSafe BC spokesman Scott McCloy described the incident as “a preventable fatality.” He noted regulations prohibit any work that places workers or equipment within 10 feet (three metres) of power lines.

The tragedy was the eighth such death in B.C. since 2004.

The penalty – imposed two years to the day after the incident – was among 60 levied in April and May; of those, four involved fatalities.

Companies assessed penalties for incidents that occurred in Surrey included Rypac Aluminum Recycling Ltd. ($15,178.69), in connection with a worker whose arm was amputated as a result of trying to clear an obstruction from a conveyor belt; New City Framing Ltd. ($2,500), for filing to provide a first aid kit and first aid attendant; Friendly Construction Ltd. ($10,928.50), Z.Q. Roofing and Renovation Ltd. ($2,500), Brar Brothers Siding & Tiles Ltd. ($2,500) and New Tech Framing Ltd. ($2,500), for failing to ensure fall protection was used; Arsara Diesel Truck Repairs Ltd. ($2,596.20), for failing to comply with WorkSafe BC orders to address safety violations; Nu-Brite Industries Inc. ($21,094.42), for failing to provide supervision to ensure a worker’s safety while operating a metal lathe; and PH Contractors Ltd. ($4,036.45), for allowing workers to enter an excavation without ensuring its sides were sloped or supported as required.

The fines are based on the nature of the violation, the employer’s compliance history and the employer’s assessable payroll.

 

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