A Canadian ferry corporation have been issued with a hefty fine of $674,445 by British Columbian workplace regulator WorkSafeBC, 2 years after the death of one of its workers who drowned after falling from a vessel.
On 21 June 2020, a ferry was docked for maintenance on the Fraser River in Richmond when a worker leaned onto a fabric webbing panel that broke away when he was trying to retrieve an item floating in the water. The worker subsequently drowned, and his body was recovered the next day.
WorkSafeBC launched an investigation and found the B.C. Ferries worker was not wearing a life jacket and the fabric panels were ‘insufficient at controlling the hazard of falling into the water below’.
A WorkSafeBC statement said, “The firm failed to ensure the health and safety of all workers at its worksite,” and “also failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety. These were both high-risk violations.”
The ferry corporation said it immediately addressed ‘areas of concern’ after WorkSafeBC issued an inspection report in November 2021. But the statement went on to say that B.C. Ferries has requested a review of the report. “The request for a review process allows for B.C. Ferries to demonstrate reasonable precautions, safety policies and procedures and training were in place.”
The statement also said BC Ferries had promptly paid the penalty, but the corporation is reviewing the decision and could appeal.
This case highlights the importance of maintaining workplace health and safety standards. Employers have a duty of care to provide training and supervision and ensure workplaces are as safe and hazard-free as possible. If you are an employer and have any concerns in this regard, or have any other health and safety issues, contact us on 01942 727200 or by email at email@example.com and speak to one of our Health & Safety Consultants for an initial consultation without charge or obligation.