Saskatchewan

Regina company fined $350k in relation to 2017 workplace death

A Regina company has been fined $350,000 following the death of a worker in southern Saskatchewan in 2017.

BLS Asphalt found guilty of violating occupational health, safety regulations, resulting in death

BLS Asphalt was found guilty on May 30. The fine was issued in Weyburn Provincial Court on June 22.  (CBC News/Alex Soloducha)

A Regina company has been fined $350,000 following the death of a worker in southern Saskatchewan in 2017.

BLS Asphalt was found guilty of two occupational health and safety regulations, resulting in the death. A third charge was dismissed. BLS had pleaded not guilty to all three charges.

The company was found guilty on May 30. The fine was issued in Weyburn Provincial Court on June 22. 

The charges stemmed from a workplace fatality four years ago near the village of Ceylon, which is about 110 kilometres south of Regina.  

According to a provincial government news release, BLS employee Troy Lucyk died after becoming entangled in a conveyor while clearing a chute in the system on Nov. 22, 2017.

According to provincial court documents, Lucyk worked as a loader operator at the crusher gravel pit near Ceylon. When a chute became clogged with rock and sand he went to help his supervisor remove the clogged chute by jumping up onto an uncovered frame over a moving tail pulley. 

The documents say Lucyk slipped. He lost his leg after it became entangled in the tail pulley, resulting in death due to blood loss.

An autopsy performed on Lucyk found that he had various substances in his system, including cocaine. 

Dr. Andreea Nister, who performed the autopsy, said she found alcohol in Lucyk's urine, but that none was found in his blood. She testified that meant he was not impaired by alcohol at the time of his death.

Ultimately, BLS Asphalt 's charges related to failing to properly train the employee, and failing to protect him from dangerous moving parts.

In court, BLS Asphalt said Lucyk's behaviour on the day of the incident was "unforeseeable" by the company. 

But the sentencing decision outlines how the Crown argued BLS Asphalt employees left the machinery running in order to clean the chute without incurring the cost of stopping the machinery in order clean the chute safely.

"It is observed that there was a connection between the profit that BLS Asphalt obtained and the illegal actions. This is an aggravating factor," the decision said.

"The gravity of the offence was high in light of the fact that Mr. Lucyk died as a result of the two offences of which BLS Asphalt was found guilty. That is, had BLS Asphalt installed a safeguard over the tail pulley or had provided information, instruction, training or supervision on the clearing of the chute, Mr. Lucyk would not have died."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura is a reporter for CBC Saskatchewan. She is also the community reporter for CBC's virtual road trip series Land of Living Stories. Laura previously worked for CBC Vancouver. Some of her former work has appeared in the Globe and Mail, NYLON Magazine, VICE Canada and The Tyee. She holds a Master of Journalism degree from the University of British Columbia. Follow Laura on Twitter: @MeLaura. Send her news tips at laura.sciarpelletti@cbc.ca

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