Nfld. & Labrador

Forbes Bros., N.L. Hydro charged in double fatality on transmission line near Come by Chance

Occupational Health and Safety has laid charges in connection with an incident on the transmission line near Come by Chance that killed two workers in June 2017.

Occupational Health and Safety also charged a supervisor for failing to ensure worker safety

Jared Moffat, left, was working for Edmonton-based Forbes Bros. when a tower collapsed near the Avalon Peninsula community of Come by Chance. Tim McLean, right, also died at the scene. (Facebook/GoFundMe)

Occupational Health and Safety has filed charges against Forbes Bros. Ltd. and Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro in connection with an incident that killed two workers on the transmission line near Come by Chance in 2017. 

On Friday afternoon, OHS said the charges relate to several violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act on the part of Forbes Bros., which employed the two workers, one count against the principal contractor NL Hydro, and one count against a supervisor with Forbes Bros.

The men, Jared Moffat, 34, of Prince Albert, Sask. and Tim McLean, 31, of Nipigon, Ont. were in the process of putting up the transmission tower between Bay d'Espoir and the western Avalon when it fell to the ground on June 19, 2017, prompting an investigation by OHS. 

9 charges in total

Edmonton-based Forbes Bros. is charged with:

  • failing to ensure the health and safety of its workers. 
  • failing to provide necessary information, instruction and supervision to workers.
  • failing to ensure staff were aware of hazards.
  • failing to protect those not in their employ.
  • failing to include written work procedures appropriate to the hazards in its OHS program.
  • failing to ensure work procedures promoted workers interact safely with their environment.
  • failing to ensure written rescue procedures were implemented. 
A tower, like the one in this photo, became unstable due to an issue with the guy wire and fell to the ground, according to Forbes Bros. in 2017. (Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro)

The company told CBC News it received notice of the charges earlier this week and is working with its legal team to understand them, so it cannot comment specifically at this time. But a spokesperson said the company "remains committed to ensuring a safe workplace." 

One charge was laid against a Forbes Bros. supervisor for allegedly failing to ensure the health, safety and welfare of all workers under his supervision. 

The fatal tower collapse in this province came four months after Forbes Bros. workers on a transmission line in Manitoba were injured when a tower collapsed. 

NL Hydro, which contracted Forbes Bros. to construct the power transmission line from Bay d'Espoir, was charged with one count alleging it failed to ensure that an employer and workers complied with the OHS Act and Regulations.

In an emailed statement, the Crown corporation said it continues "to take this incident extremely seriously," and received notice of the charges "stemming from the tragic incident." 

It's now assessing the charges and will address them in the court process, while remaining committed to the safety of all workers.

The first court appearance in the matter is set for July 4 at provincial court in Clarenville. 

Work on the transmission line was halted immediately after the fatal incident, but resumed in August of 2017 when OHS lifted the stop work order and is now complete. Forbes Bros. said it is no longer carrying out any work in the province. 

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