Family of man crushed by paving machine welcomes $40K fine to Paradise company
Nearly three years to the day since her brother was crushed under a paver, Rosemary Ivany can finally stop holding her breath.
Despite his death, she says, the guilty pleas from her brother's employer offered her a glimpse into his final moments, answering questions that had weighed on her mind daily.
"I'm glad that this day is finally here. Now we have some resolve to it. We have a better understanding of what actually happened that day," Ivany said Tuesday, speaking to reporters outside the provincial courtroom in St. John's, where her late brother's employer had just received a $40,000 fine for neglecting to take care of the machine that would ultimately kill one of their workers.
Gerald Hiscock, 54, had worked for Paradise Paving for about five years, according to Ivany, who described to reporters the pleasure Hiscock took from his trade.
"He loved his job. He loved what he did … he wanted to be operating that machine," Ivany said.
"If I can take anything from this, it's that he died doing something he really loved."
Ivany says the company, too, cared for Hiscock — but not enough to avoid the negligence that ultimately killed him and dragged his family through years of grueling uncertainty, wondering what really happened that day.
"There's no one there to tell you exactly what the findings were," Ivany said, "until you attend the court proceedings and find out."
Company failed in maintaining machine: judge
Judge David Orr read out a summary of Hiscock's death on Tuesday before sentencing the company to its fines.
Hiscock had been driving backwards down a driveway in May 2019 when he fell from the paver he'd been operating. It rolled over him, crushing him.
His coworkers used another piece of heavy equipment to lift the paver off, but by the time they wrangled the machinery off his body, it was clear Hiscock hadn't survived.
An occupational health and safety investigation found several issues with the paver that killed Hiscock, including a non-functional backup alarm, a neutral switch that wasn't in the proper position and a catwalk in poor condition.
Orr said the cause of his death was, ultimately, the company's failure to maintain that machine.
He added that Paradise Paving had followed all OHS recommendations since Hiscock's death, but had committed a high level of negligence regarding the safety of its employees.
To let someone operate that paver in that condition, Orr said, constituted a "serious breach" of regulations.
Paradise Paving has been convicted of failure to maintain a safe workplace, failure to provide supervision and failure to keep mobile equipment maintained — an outcome that Ivany hopes will serve as a warning to employers across the province.
"I just don't want to see any other families go through this, because it is a painstaking process. It's always in the back of your mind," she said.
"There are no winners in this. There are no winners at all."