Poley Mountain fined $3,000 for workplace safety violation
Former employee has been going to rehab for his injured hand and struggling to regain its use
Poley Mountain Resorts Ltd. pleaded guilty Friday to not providing adequate supervision after an 18-year-old employee's hand was crushed by the inner workings of one of the lifts in January of 2019.
Judge Andrew Palmer fined the corporation $3,000 in Saint John provincial court. The fine is to be paid by November.
Palmer said he was convinced the corporation has done its best to correct the issues, but a fine was still warranted.
Stephen Moffett, director of the corporation, and Poley Mountain manager Bill Anderson were in court.
In an interview outside the courthouse, Moffett said the employee who was injured had worked at the ski hill for a few years.
"I feel really bad that it actually happened in the first place," he said. "He's still a young man and with his life ahead of him."
The court heard that the incident occurred in January as the teen was trying to remove ice from the inner workings of one of the lifts at the bottom of the hill. He reached in, but there was a "breakdown in communication" and someone turned on the lift, the court heard.
Multiple bones were broken in his left hand, and many muscles were torn. The court heard he's been going to rehab, and the state of his hand is improving, but he's still struggling.
"It's a pretty serious injury so he wasn't able to use the hand," Moffett said.
"There's all kinds of things that should have happened but it's just one of those unfortunate things that did happen."
Moffett said the man is not working at Poley anymore.
What's being done differently?
The court heard this is Poley Mountain's first workplace safety incident.
Moffett said the injury brought to their attention that "perhaps that's a gap that we were a little bit short on."
"The board itself has really made it very clear that we want to foster a mentality of safety in every part of the hill which, you know, I can honestly say I think we already had," he said.
He said there's been a standing agenda item on workplace safety during the board meeting every month since the injury.
"[The lift] should have been shut off so it couldn't start," he said. "So we really have made extra effort to make sure everyone's trained in lockout procedures and so on."
"If this has shown us there was a gap, I can honestly say I think we filled that gap."
Palmer said the fine is to be paid by Nov. 19.
"The corporation has had an appropriate response, and it's not a situation where there's a flagrant disregard for safety," Palmer said.