Digby man's death leads to $325K fine for Alberta driller
Nicholas Ryan died in northern Alberta after a drill pipe dropped on him
The death of a 28-year-old Nova Scotia man at a workplace in northern Alberta has led to a $325,000 fine being levied against the oil and gas drilling company he worked for.
Nicholas Ryan, originally from Digby, was a floor hand with Fort McMurray-based Encore Coring and Drilling Inc. when he was killed by a drill pipe that dropped on him on Nov. 8, 2010. It happened at a work site northeast of Lac La Biche, Alta.
The company pleaded guilty Monday in Edmonton provincial court to one count under Alberta's Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure Ryan's health and safety.
In an agreed statement of facts, the company admitted to not providing workers with detailed procedures dealing with the reinstallation of a part on an iron roughneck, the 2,270-kilogram hydraulic wrench that dropped the drill pipe.
Encore Coring and Drilling also admitted to not ensuring proper communication between workers in a hydraulic power building and those on the rig floor.
The company agreed with prosecutors on how much it should be fined — $325,000, of which $295,000 will go to the University of Alberta Risk Management Services.
That money will be used to create a hazard assessment web tool that can be accessed on a smartphone and tablet.
An obituary for Ryan says he enjoyed the company of friends and co-workers, and especially liked a game of Texas hold 'em.
Ryan had been helping connect two hydraulic hoses when he was killed. He had positioned himself underneath the iron roughneck, even though he could have stayed to the side.
A co-worker in the power room turned off the hydraulic pumps and the drill pipe dropped approximately one metre. It struck Ryan in the head, killing him.