A provincial court judge has fined the owner of a Dartmouth, N.S., construction company $60,000 for failing to provide proper guidance and equipment in a July 2018 incident where an employee drowned.
David Seaboyer pleaded guilty on behalf of himself and his company, SiteLogic Construction Management Inc., to four charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in August.
The Crown had proposed a combined fine of $120,000.
"The sentence I have chose takes into consideration the personal circumstances of Mr. Seaboyer and his company, which includes the size of the company, its financial stability and its future ability to earn income," Judge Gregory Lenehan said Tuesday in Halifax.
"The same applies to Mr. Seaboyer himself."
Lenehan cited financial statements Seaboyer provided to the court that indicated SiteLogic has not made any revenue since the fatality. Seaboyer has since been unemployed.
Michael Wile was killed when the dump truck he was operating rolled into the harbour at the Fairview Cove sequestration facility on Africville Road in Halifax.
Crews, including 44-year-old Wile, had been dumping slate material into the Bedford Basin to extend the length of the container pier — a job ordered by the Halifax Port Authority.
Seaboyer was the on-site manager in charge of day-to-day operations at the time of the incident. He admitted he did not ensure a spotter was on site to guide the dump truck operators as they dumped at the water's edge. He also admitted the operators did not have a safe, sloped dump ramp in place to protect trucks from rolling into the basin.
"This was not an accident. This tragic death was completely avoidable," Lenehan said during the sentencing.
"The most basic of safety protocols for such a project could have, and most assuredly would have, prevented this accident from happening."
Crown prosecutor Alex Keaveny said he was satisfied with the outcome and hoped the $60,000 penalty would prevent other incidents by discouraging workplaces from taking similar risks.
"This is a situation ... where they abandoned the safe-work protections that they had planned on to save time and to save money, and they just hoped for the best," Keaveny said.
"There's no sentence that truly reflects that level of workplace negligence. It's hard. It's very difficult to relate that to any monetary amount.
"I just hope that those in the industry consider [$60,000] substantial enough that they don't want to take these kinds of risks."
Seaboyer, under the charges against his company, must also pay a victim fine surcharge of $3,000, which goes to fund programs to support victims and their families with court costs.
He must perform 10 one-hour safety presentations — something that was suggested by the Crown.
"The more people who hear this message, the better," Keaveny said.
"I think Mr. Seaboyer, to his credit, has taken responsibility for his failures and I think he'll take that message out and I think people can benefit from hearing it."
MORE TOP STORIES