Alberta paving company to Pay $295,000 penalty in workplace fatality case

A gavel and the scales of justice
A gavel and the scales of justiceWS file photo

Smith Group Holdings Ltd. and its subsidiary Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. have been ordered to pay a penalty of $295,000 in connection with a workplace fatality that occurred on July 23, 2021.

The incident, which led to the death of a worker, resulted in 15 charges under occupational health and safety (OHS) laws.

On March 6 in Brooks, Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. pleaded guilty to one charge under the OHS Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of its worker. Consequently, all charges against Smith Group Holdings Ltd. and additional charges against Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. were withdrawn.

The tragic incident unfolded at a road construction site in the County of Newell, where a worker lost his life due to asphyxiation while cleaning out a gravel bin with a running conveyor.

As part of the penalty, the company will pay a total of $295,000, which includes a $1,000 fine.

A notable portion of the penalty, $244,000, will be allocated to the Alberta Construction Safety Association. These funds will be utilized to develop various safety resources, including a three-dimensional incident re-creation video, a series of learning videos, a toolbox talk resource guide, and a safety session open to all industries.

Additionally, $50,000 will be allocated to the Brooks Fire Department to acquire new rescue equipment.

The decision to direct the penalty funds towards safety initiatives stems from a provision within the OHS Act, which allows for a creative sentence option to promote workplace health and safety.

Both the company and the Crown have a 30-day window to appeal the conviction or penalty, as per Alberta’s OHS laws.

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