Home Hardware fined after worker’s death last year

Whitehorse's Home Hardware has been fined $5,000 after one of its employees died in the store's warehouse last year.

Whitehorse’s Home Hardware has been fined $5,000 after one of its employees died in the store’s warehouse last year.

There will be no charges laid against the store, but the fine is the highest administrative penalty possible under Yukon law.

On April 10, 2014, Gary Martin was retrieving a case of drywall compound from the top shelf of the warehouse when the ladder he was using collapsed, according to the Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board.

A supervisor found him unconscious.

He fractured his skull and never regained consciousness. He died the next day after being medevaced to Vancouver.

No one saw what happened, but after looking at evidence at the scene and damage to the ladder, investigators say it appears Martin was standing on or near the top of the ladder and was probably reaching to the right with his arms extended. That caused the ladder to kick out to the left and he fell.

Safety investigators found that “there was insufficient worker training and orientation in the store. As well, the employer failed to have a working health and safety management program in the store,” the board said in a statement.

The company has 21 days to appeal the decision. Family members could also request a review of a decision or order issued by the board.

“The dollar value of a penalty does not and cannot reflect the loss of life and the pain and suffering of workers and families,” the safety board said in a statement.

The store’s co-owner, Patti Smith, said no decisions have been made about whether they will appeal the decision.

“Our thoughts continue to be with Gary’s family on the anniversary of his death and we continue to work really closely with occupational heath and safety to ensure a safe and healthy work environment.”

Smith would not discuss what went wrong leading to Martin’s death.

“Hopefully if there was some fault, there would have been charges laid,” she said.

Following Martin’s death, the store raised money for his family by donating a portion of paint sales to a memorial fund.

Contact Ashley Joannou at

ashleyj@yukon-news.com

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