Unsafe employers outed

The Yukon Workers' Compensation Health and Safety Board is naming names. In what will be a quarterly event, the board has released a list of companies fined in June for workplace safety infractions.

The Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board is naming names.

In what will be a quarterly event, the board has released a list of companies fined in June for workplace safety infractions.

Until now, the board has kept these names secret, based on the reasoning it’s better to educate employers than publicly shame them.

But education hasn’t reduced the number of workplace accidents in the Yukon. So the shaming has begun.

Calgary Tunnelling and Horizontal Augering are the culprits responsible seriously injuring a worker near the Whitehorse sewage lagoon on July 13, 2009. The company was fined a total of $17,500 for four infractions.

The worker was using an auguring machine to clean out piping. The drill bit jammed and caused the machine to tip, pinning the worker to a nearby backhoe. The man suffered serious internal injuries.

The worker wasn’t properly trained or supervised and the drill bit was too small to safely clean the larger pipe. As well, the augur guard had been removed, the board concluded. The company also failed to report the workplace injury.

Two other companies are singled out in the June report.

Howard Electric was fined $1,000 for working too close to a high-voltage power line on June 9 at the Takhini trailer park. And Norcope Enterprises was fined $2,500 for failing to ensure its workers were adequately supervised while excavating near electrical cables at the Takhini North subdivision on June 28.

According to the board, a typical workplace injury may cost Yukon’s health system $25,000 to $50,000. Add another $20,000 if the injured worker needs to be medevaced, and another $30,000 for treatment at a southern hospital.

Compensation for lost wages typically runs between $25,000 to $50,000.

Total cost, largely at the public’s expense: between $50,000 to $150,000.

The board’s next fine report will be published November 1.

Contact John Thompson at

johnt@yukon-news.com.

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