Government fined in horse wrangler’s death

The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board has fined the Yukon government $5,000 after the investigation into the death of Arnold Johnson.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board has fined the Yukon government $5,000 after the investigation into the death of Arnold Johnson.

Johnson, 57, was wrangling feral horses near Kusawa Lake on January 26, 2014 as part of a team hired by the Yukon government’s agriculture branch.

As the three workers attempted to close the rail fence around the horses, the animals bolted.

One horse charged the fence and became tangled in a metal panel that Johnson was standing behind.

He was knocked to the ground, and the horse rolled over him.

“Mr. Johnson struck his head on the frozen ground and was immediately unconscious,” according to the coroner’s report into the death.

“As a result he sustained serious head injuries and was pronounced deceased on Jan. 27, 2014 at Whitehorse General Hospital as a result of blunt force head trauma.”

The $5,000 fine to the agricultural branch is the largest administrative penalty that the safety board can apply.

“The dollar value of a penalty does not and cannot reflect the loss of life and the pain and suffering of workers and families,” according to the news release.

The fine is for “failing to establish a complete occupational health and safety program,” as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Dan Sabo, who was contracted by the government to do the work, was also fined $750 in the case. His fine is “for failing to properly assess the risks associated with the job and for not providing appropriate personal protective equipment.”

Yukon’s coroner has also investigated the death, and recommended that anyone wrangling horses in the future wear a helmet.

The purpose of the horse wrangling program is to keep feral horses away from highway right of ways, where they can pose a safety concern.

The operation was suspended after Johnson’s death.

Agriculture director Tony Hill said today that the program may be reinstated if the government can determine what exactly needs to be done to meet safety requirements, and the program is deemed to have a continued public benefit.

Both the agriculture branch and Sabo may appeal the WCB’s ruling within 21 days.

Contact Jacqueline Ronson at

jronson@yukon-news.com

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

Just Posted

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited internet options beginning Dec. 1. (Yukon News file)
Unlimited internet for some available Dec. 1

Whitehorse and Carcross will be among seven northern communities to have unlimited… Continue reading

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before conducting a test with it on Nov. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
An inside look at the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre

As the active COVID-19 case count grew last week, so too did… Continue reading

Conservation officers search for a black bear in the Riverdale area in Whitehorse on Sept. 17. The Department of Environment intends to purchase 20 semi-automatic AR-10 rifles, despite the inclusion of the weapons in a recently released ban introduced by the federal government, for peace officers, such as conservation officers. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Environment Minister defends purchase of AR-10 rifles for conservation officers

The federal list of banned firearms includes an exception for peace officers

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
Yukonomist: The K-shaped economic recovery and what Yukoners can do about it

It looks like COVID-19 will play the role of Grinch this holiday… Continue reading

Fossil finds at Mt. Stephen. (Photo: Sarah Fuller/Parks Canada)
Extreme hiking, time travel and science converge in the Burgess Shale

Climb high in the alpine and trace your family tree back millions of years – to our ocean ancestors

Black Press Media and BraveFace have come together to support children facing life-threatening conditions. Net proceeds from these washable, reusable, three-layer masks go to Make-A-Wish Foundation BC & Yukon.
Put on a BraveFace: Mask fundraiser helps make children’s wishes come true

From Black Press Media + BraveFace – adult, youth and kid masks support Make-A-Wish Foundation

Colin McDowell, the director of land management for the Yukon government, pulls lottery tickets at random during a Whistle Bend property lottery in Whitehorse on Sept. 9, 2019. A large amount of lots are becoming available via lottery in Whistle Bend as the neighbourhood enters phase five of development. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Lottery for more than 250 new Whistle Bend lots planned for January 2021

Eight commercial lots are being tendered in additional to residential plots

The Government of Yukon Main Administration Building in Whitehorse on Aug. 21. The Canada Border Services Agency announced Nov. 26 that they have laid charges against six people, including one Government of Yukon employee, connected to immigration fraud that involved forged Yukon government documents. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Charges laid in immigration fraud scheme, warrant out for former Yukon government employee

Permanent residency applications were submitted with fake Yukon government documents

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Karen Wenkebach has been appointed as a judge for the Yukon Supreme Court. (Yukon News file)
New justice appointed

Karen Wenckebach has been appointed as a judge for the Supreme Court… Continue reading

Catherine Constable, the city’s manager of legislative services, speaks at a council and senior management (CASM) meeting about CASM policy in Whitehorse on June 13, 2019. Constable highlighted research showing many municipalities require a lengthy notice period before a delegate can be added to the agenda of a council meeting. Under the current Whitehorse procedures bylaw, residents wanting to register as delegates are asked to do so by 11 a.m. on the Friday ahead of the council meeting. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Changes continue to be contemplated for procedures bylaw

Registration deadline may be altered for delegates

Cody Pederson of the CA Storm walks around LJ’s Sabres player Clay Plume during the ‘A’ division final of the 2019 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament. The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28 in Whitehorse next year, was officially cancelled on Nov. 24 in a press release from organizers. (John Hopkins-Hill/Yukon News file)
2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament cancelled

The 2021 Yukon Native Hockey Tournament, scheduled for March 25 to 28… Continue reading

Most Read