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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Kootenay-Columbia MP urges end to ‘illegal roadblocks’ in solidarity with pipeline dispute

Rob Morrison says protestors across Canada need to remove roadblocks on roads, rail lines

Kimberley Fire Department urges residents to install carbon monoxide alarms

The Kimberley Fire Department has been issuing warnings on social media about… Continue reading

Steam room at Kimberley Aquatic Centre reopens

Room was closed for months for repair

Our Home video: a prophetic snapshot of Kimberley in 1984

Video narrated by Councillor McBain highlights the importance of transition from mining to tourism

Victoria’s Carmanah performs for Fisher Peak concert series

The Fisher Peak Winter Ale Concert Series presented an intimate night of… Continue reading

WATCH: The week in review

WATCH: Click the subhead to read the full story Two Kimberley residents… Continue reading

Tyler Toffoli scores twice, Canucks crush Bruins 9-3

Stecher, Miller each add three points for Vancouver

Zamboni driver, 42, earns NHL win over Maple Leafs

Emergency goalie called into action for Carolina Hurricanes

Governor general says multiple solutions needed for ‘complicated’ overdose issue

Julie Payette met at a fire hall with firefighters and police officers as well as politicians and health experts

Landlord ordered to pay $11K after harassing B.C. mom to move days after giving birth

Germaine Valdez was pressured to move just a few days after giving birth by C-section to her child

Heart attacks strike B.C. husband and wife just over one year apart

Courtenay couple share personal stories to bring awareness to heart month

‘Nothing surprises us anymore:’ U.S. border officials find brain in package

U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents found the brain packed in a glass mason jar in a Canada Post shipment

Adapting to love along the Columbia River

One man starts a GoFundme to help his partner with health costs caused on the trip where they met

B.C., Ottawa sign sweeping 30-year deal for northern caribou habitat

West Moberly, Saulteau co-manage new protection on two million acres

Most Read