Death has Finning International facing five Alberta OH&S charges

Journal of Commerce | Jean Sorensen | January 11, 2023

Five safety violations have been laid against Finning International Inc. nearly two years after a yard incident at Finning Canada’s West Edmonton facility resulted in the death of an employee and the injury of a second.

The safety violations, which have yet to be heard in court, relate to the Alberta Occupational Health and Safety Act, Code and Regulations and were laid by Alberta Occupational Health and Safety. They were laid Dec. 15 and became publicly known Jan. 10.

The workplace death occurred when two employees were severely injured while servicing an excavator in the company’s D18 Edmonton General Line Construction facility near 180 St. and 104 Ave. on March 31, 2021.

Occupational Health and Safety investigators found the two men, in their 40s and employed by Finning International Inc., were attempting to remove a counterweight from an excavator for maintenance work. While removing the last of six bolts, the counterweight fell onto the workers resulting in a critically injured man, who later died in hospital, and another seriously injured employee who survived.

The five charges laid against Finning International are:

  • Two counts of failure to ensure the health and safety of a worker engaged in the work of that employer, by failing to implement, enforce and/or monitor the use of information as set out in a safety letter.
  • Being an employer who implemented a procedure respecting the work at a worksite, failed to ensure all workers who are affected by the procedure were familiar with it before the work began.
  • Failure to ensure equipment, a counterweight, was serviced, tested, adjusted, calibrated, maintained, repaired and dismantled in accordance with the manufacturer’s specifications or the specifications certified by a professional engineer.
  • Failure to ensure that if a worker could be injured if equipment or material was dislodged, moved, spilled or damaged, that all reasonable steps were taken to ensure the equipment or material was contained, restrained or protected to eliminate the potential danger.

Finning spokesperson Elisha McCallum told the Journal of Commerce via email that “we are aware of the charges” and that the company expects to begin the court process early this year. “We will be a better position to talk (about) this once that process is complete.”