Fernie Memorial Arena closed off during the winter. File photo                                Fernie Memorial Arena closed during winter following the deadly ammonia leak. File photo

Fernie Memorial Arena closed off during the winter. File photo Fernie Memorial Arena closed during winter following the deadly ammonia leak. File photo

Employer fines still possible after Fernie arena tragedy

WorkSafeBC considers enforcement action against City of Fernie, CIMCO Refrigeration

Six months after releasing a damning report into the Fernie arena tragedy, WorkSafeBC is yet to decide whether to take enforcement action against two employers found to have broken workplace health and safety laws.

On August 29, 2018, the statutory agency released its investigation incident report, which aimed to identify the cause and contributing factors in the deadly ammonia leak at Fernie Memorial Arena on October 17, 2017.

LOOK BACK: WorkSafeBC releases damning report into Fernie arena tragedy

It confirmed Technical Safety BC’s findings that the leak was caused by a hole in the curling rink chiller, which was past its life expectancy.

WorkSafeBC also determined that occupational health and safety systems did not mitigate risks to workers, incident-response measures were not present, and the manufacturing process of the chiller tubes fostered corrosion.

LOOK BACK: City of Fernie responds to investigation report

The report identified eight violations of the Workers Compensation Act and Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Regulation by the City of Fernie.

These included failing to conduct regular inspections of the workplace to prevent unsafe working conditions and failing to develop, and implement an exposure control plan for ammonia in the workplace.

WorkSafeBC also identified two violations by Toromont Industries Ltd. (CIMCO Refrigeration) for failing to protect the health and safety of CIMCO workers, including allowing maintenance work to be performed prior to ensuring the effective mitigation and control of all workplace hazards present.

At the time of the report’s release, WorkSafeBC said it was considering whether to impose penalties on the City and CIMCO. Not much has changed in six months.

“WorkSafeBC is currently considering the findings of the incident investigation report to determine appropriate enforcement action,” said a WorkSafeBC spokesperson in a statement to The Free Press.

According to the WorkSafeBC website, employers who commit health and safety violations may receive administrative penalties (monetary fines).

The amount of a penalty is based on the nature of the violation, a company’s history of violations and the size of the company’s payroll.

WorkSafeBC’s penalty policy states the maximum OHS penalty is $662,102.49.

Just Posted

Students at Creston Valley Secondary School put together an art installation of a replica residential school room. (Photo by Kelsey Yates)
Creston students create art installation of residential school room

The replica was decorated with a small bed, school uniform, and notes written with pleas for help

A tent housing a mobile vaccination clinic. (Interior Health/Contributed)
Second dose vaccinations accelerating throughout region: Interior Health

To date, more than 675,000 doses have been administered throughout the region

The Food Recovery Program has pivoted to more meal production during this pandemic year. Submitted file
Kimberley Food Recovery Program producing more meals during pandemic

This past Monday, June 14, Shannon Grey-Duncan from the Kimberley Food Recovery… Continue reading

Prince Charles Secondary School
School District 8 votes in favour of name change for Secondary School in Creston

In an act of reconciliation, a new name will be chosen for Prince Charles Secondary School

Kootenay-Columbia MP Rob Morrison. Photo courtesy Conservative Party of Canada.
MP Morrison appointed to parliamentary national security committee

Kootenay-Columbia parliamentarian one of five candidates appointed to national security committee

Local environmental group Mainstreams conducting more work along the banks of Mark Creek. Paul Rodgers photos.
WATCH: Mainstreams continues riparian and aesthetic enhancement project along Mark Creek

Local environmental organization Mainstreams was back along the banks of Mark Creek… Continue reading

FILE – A science class at L.A. Matheson Secondary in Surrey, B.C. on March 12, 2021. (Lauren Collins/Surrey Now Leader)
Teachers’ union wants more COVID transmission data as B.C. prepares for back-to-school

BCTF says that details will be important as province works on plan for September

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry outlines B.C.’s COVID-19 restart plan, May 25, 2021, including larger gatherings and a possible easing of mandatory masks on July 1. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. records 120 new COVID-19 cases, second vaccines accelerating

Lower Pfizer deliveries for early July, Moderna shipments up

A Heffley Creek peacock caught not one - but two - lifts on a logging truck this month. (Photo submitted)
Heffley Creek-area peacock hops logging trucks in search of love

Peacock hitched two lifts in the past month

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

The Calgary skyline is seen on Friday, Sept. 15, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
2 deaths from COVID-19 Delta variant in Alberta, 1 patient was fully immunized

Kerry Williamson with Alberta Health Services says the patients likely acquired the virus in the hospital

The first suspension bridge is the tallest in Canada, with a second suspension bridge just below it. The two are connected by a trail that’s just over 1 km. (Claire Palmer photo)
PHOTOS: The highest suspension bridges in Canada just opened in B.C.

The Skybridge in Golden allows visitors to take in views standing at 130 and 80 metres

BC Green Party leader and Cowichan Valley MLA Sonia Furstenau introduced a petition to the provincial legislature on Thursday calling for the end of old-growth logging in the province. (File photo)
BC Green leader Furstenau introduces old-growth logging petition

Party calls for the end of old-growth logging as protests in Fairy Creek continue

B.C. Premier John Horgan leaves his office for a news conference in the legislature rose garden, June 3, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C. premier roasted for office budget, taxing COVID-19 benefits

Youth addiction law that triggered election hasn’t appeared

Most Read