CBC News has uncovered troubling revelations about both companies involved in workplace fatalities in Calgary this week.

One company has a history with Occupational Health and Safety (OHS), and the other didn't have a work permit.

James Ladino died a day after he was hit by a piece of equipment Tuesday in the southeast community of Cranston. Another man was crushed to death at a northeast Calgary industrial strip mall Thursday when a concrete brick wall collapsed on top of him. 

Brick wall workplace fatality

The preliminary investigation suggests the man killed in northeast Calgary died after this wall collapsed. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

CBC News has confirmed the 60-year-old man who was killed by the bricks was sent by Blue Collar Temps to work for the Norcal Group.

Marco Civitarese, the City of Calgary's chief building inspector, says the company was operating without a work permit and has been issued a stop work order by the city for any future construction.

The city has engineers helping with its investigation and charges could be laid under the Safety Codes Act.

Charges or fines that result from the investigation will be shared with the public, said Civitarese.

Insituform Technologies has OHS history

CBC News has also learned the company that employed 40-year-old Ladino has a history with OHS.

Disabling Injuries Rate 2013
  • Insituform:         5.71 per 100
  • Industry average:     2.57 per 100

In 2012 and 2013, Insituform Technologies had a disabling injury rate more than double the provincial industry average.

A court search of the company didn't turn up any charges under the OHS act. Some critics say it raises concerns about the government's commitment to workplace safety. 

"It puts into question the whole certificate of recognition that this government gives to companies," said Alberta Liberal Party labour critic David Swann.

Cranston workplace accident

A 40-year-old man has died from injuries sustained in a workplace accident in the Calgary community of Cranston. (CBC)

"I noticed they've had repeated certificates of recognition for safety and then this inconsistency with violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Code and disabling injuries."

Swann says either the government is not doing its job in assessing the merits of a company, or it's not enforcing the standards.

Airdrie contractor charged in separate incident

A contractor in Airdrie is facing charges for a workplace incident that happened over the summer in Lacombe. A 14-year-old boy fell nearly four metres from a residential roof. He was briefly hospitalized as a result.

Vital Contracting is now facing several charges under OHS legislation: 

  • Employing of a person under the age of 15 years.
  • Failing to keep employment records.
  • Failing to ensure the health and safety of the worker.
  • Failing to develop a fall protection plan.

The company could be fined up to $500,000. Penalities for the alleged violations could also include imprisonment for up to six months.

"In every case it's a judgment call," said Ric McIver, Alberta's minister of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour. "Some of those are very easy to make, to go straight to enforcement, and in other cases the inspector has a job to do."

He said 42 out of the 143 workplace inspectors in the province have been sworn in as peace officers so they can lay charges and give fines and penalties. McIver said all 143 will have the same authority in the very near future.

CBC News left messages for both Norcal Group and Insituform Technologies, but calls have not yet been returned.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story said the company could be fined up to $100,000. In fact the company could face a fine as high as $500,000 under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act.
    Nov 25, 2014 8:31 AM MT