WorkSafeBC has released its 2010 enforcement report and five Quesnel companies have been slapped with fines.
In 2010, WorkSafeBC imposed 256 penalties, totaling $3,163,898 against employers for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation and the Workers Compensation Act.
The 256 penalties issued in 2010 were imposed against 232 individual employers, with penalty amounts ranging from $1,000 to $145,046.98. A total of 12 incidents in which employers were penalized involved a fatality.
“WorkSafeBC penalizes employers who have not been motivated by other means to comply with their responsibility to ensure their workplaces are healthy and safe,” vice president of the Industry Services and Sustainability Division of WorkSafeBC, Donna Wilson said.
“A penalty is not imposed if an employer is found to have taken all reasonable steps to prevent circumstances that involve violations that can lead to serious injury or death.”
The five Quesnel companies facing penalties are:
• Shane McCann Contracting for $5,826.45;
• Icon Homes Ltd. for $10,045.45;
• Stewart Arnold Newstead, two violations for $7,500 each;
• 228100 BC LTD for $2,500; and
• Sean O’Flynn for $1,000.
The highest penalty in 2010 was imposed against Penfolds Roofing for an incident in which two of its workers were working on a roof between 4.5 m and six m above grade without using fall protection.
This was a repeated violation of the fall protection requirements as well as the requirement to provide workers with information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their safety. Penfolds was fined $145,046.98.
Employers from 58 industry classifications received penalties in 2010. Companies in five construction-related classifications accounted for 65 per cent (168) of the penalties imposed.
Those companies were in the following industry classifications:
• steep slope roofing – 34.7 per cent (89);
• house or other wood frame general contracting, construction or renovation work – 11.3 per cent (29);
• framing or residential forming – 10.9 per cent (28);
• low slope roofing – 4.68 per cent (12); and
• industrial, commercial, institutional or high-rise residential general contracting or construction – 3.9 per cent (10).
In recent years WorkSafeBC has increased its inspection and investigation capacity, directing a more intensive focus to the industries the company deems the highest risk to workers, including construction sites and to employers where compliance is known to be an issue — such as steep slope roofing and construction.
In 2008, WorkSafe developed a team of 16 prevention officers to focus on residential construction and this focus continues.
WorkSafeBC applies a penalty where there has been a serious and/or repeated violation of occupational health and safety laws and regulations; where a sanction is required to motivate the specific employer to comply with the law; and where the sanction can act as a deterrent for others.
Penalty amounts vary year over year due to the size of employers penalized (employers with larger payrolls are assessed higher penalties) and the seriousness of violations.
In certain circumstances, claim costs may be applied in addition to the penalty; and in extraordinary circumstances, WorkSafeBC has the ability to go beyond prescribed limits and increase the penalty amount. The maximum penalty amount is adjusted yearly – in 2010 it was $565,823.60.