Fort McPherson ferry accident could lead to big fines

A government lawyer has acknowledged that the workers at the Abraham Francis ferry near Fort McPherson, N.W.T. were inadequately trained and didn't have the proper safety equipment when a cable snapped and injured two people.

Grizzly Marine Services failed to report an accident that injured two workers to WSCC

Two summers ago, a cable on the Abraham Francis ferry snapped when workers were trying to pull it clear of some driftwood. Two workers were injured, but nobody from Grizzly Marine Services reported the accident to WSCC. The company and the N.W.T. government have pleaded guilty to violations of the Safety Act. (GNWT DOT)

A government lawyer has acknowledged that the workers at the Abraham Francis ferry near Fort McPherson, N.W.T. were inadequately trained and didn't have the proper safety equipment when a cable snapped and injured two people.

On July 12, 2012, the ferry got stuck. Driftwood was caught in one of its cables.

Grizzly Marine Services sent three workers to loosen the cable, but it snapped, whipping back and forth and hitting Dwight Snowshoe in the leg.

He fell and hit his head and was unconscious for about five minutes.

Snowshoe was treated for a concussion and injuries to his face, back and hip at the Fort McPherson health centre.

Snowshoe was one of two employees injured that day, but no one from Grizzly Marine Services reported the accident to the Workers Safety Compensation Commission until Snowshoe’s mother called — three days after the accident.

The company has pleaded guilty for failing to report the accident, a charge that comes with a $7,500 fine.

The Government of the Northwest Territories, which contracts Grizzly Marine to offer the ferry service, also faces a large fine under the Safety Act. It too has pleaded guilty and could be forced to pay $75,000 for not ensuring health and safety at a workplace.

The judge will deliver his sentence on June 27.