A Nova Scotia waste disposal company has been penalized more than $100,000 dollars in relation to a worker's death three years ago.
Ryan Durling died on May 10, 2018, after being struck by a compactor blade inside a garbage truck in Port Williams, N.S. The 21-year-old had been working as a waste collector during the spring cleanup, helping pick up large household items.
He was hit after entering the body of the truck through an access door to relieve himself, something workers did on their collection routes when there were no other washroom options.
The company, EFR Disposal Ltd., pleaded guilty to two Occupational Health and Safety Act charges in March.
They include that the company failed to ensure an access door on the garbage truck had an interlock system that would have prevented the door from opening when the compactor was running and, in the event that someone did open the door, would have disconnected the power.
The second count related to how the company's inspections failed to detect that the lock system was not in place and posed a safety hazard.
Victim impact statements
Ryan Durling's mother was one of five people to submit victim impact statements to the provincial court in Kentville, N.S. She said his death has torn the family apart and she no longer feels like celebrating family milestones like birthdays.
"Sometimes I try to imagine the horrific accident and I will never forget seeing his lifeless body in hospital," Pam Durling told the sentencing hearing Wednesday.
The Crown and the company came up with a joint sentencing recommendation, which was accepted by provincial court Judge Chris Manning.
The truck used in the tragedy was immediately taken out of service.
All of the company's vehicles are now equipped with the interlock device. The company's safety procedures have also been updated to make sure employees know what they're supposed to do prior to each trip.
Manning noted the company had a spotless safety record prior to Durling's death and a surprise inspection of one of its vehicles earlier this year found it was fully compliant with all safety regulations.
Penalty includes fine, victim surcharges
The penalty has several parts.
The company has been fined $50,000. It must also pay $7,500 in victim fine surcharges.
In addition, the company is making a $50,000 donation to the provincial Labour Department for an advanced educational program on occupational health and safety.
The judge noted that EFR Disposal paid for Durling's funeral and gravestone, made a $5000 donation to the fire department where he volunteered and provided grief counselling to employees following the accident.
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