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Provincial court judge Sheila Whelan has fined Manshield Construction $35,000. (CBC)

An Edmonton-based construction company will pay $35,000 after a 26-year-old man suffered what crown prosecutors describe as "devastating injuries" working at a Saskatoon condominium site.

On May 17, 2011, Manshield Construction was responsible for overseeing operations at 118 Armistice Way, when a steel guardrail came crashing down from the sixth storey of the complex. 

At ground level, 26-year old Craig Faulkner and another man were carrying equipment across the construction site. The guardrail crushed Faulkner, knocking him unconscious.

Evidence presented in Saskatoon provincial court today showed Faulkner's spine was fractured, one of his lungs collapsed, he suffered soft tissue damage to his left shoulder, and his jaw was broken in three places. His left retina detached, and he continues to suffer ongoing back and shoulder pain, as well as some brain damage and vision problems.

Concrete truck hit beam

The court heard the driver of a concrete truck asked site supervisors if the beam could be moved, minutes before that truck struck the guardrail, sending it crashing down 15 metres. Supervisors insisted the beam stay up, to protect other workers on the sixth floor, but failed to put up safety tape marking a potential danger zone at ground level. 

"The area beneath that was not cordoned off," noted crown prosecutor Bruce Bauer. "There are rules to protect [Faulkner's] safety and they weren't followed.

Manshield Construction says it regrets what has happened.

"It was clearly a fluke that he was underneath it at the time," said defence lawyer Rich Gabruch. He noted Manshield employed a third-party safety company at the condo site, and there were regular employee briefings.

Worker's prospects "very bleak"

Fines for violating similar occupational health and safety laws in Saskatchewan have typically ranged from three thousand dollars to $50,000. The maximum penalty is $300,000.

Manshield pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate supervision, and failing to erect clear barriers, notices, warning lights or other warning devices to warn workers when they could be struck by a falling object. 

Judge Sheila Whelan noted the victim's ability to make a living and support himself at this point is "very bleak". She also recommended the company mail Faulkner a written apology, and noted companies often cover accident victims' ongoing medical expenses.

Neither Faulkner nor his family attended court today.