- BC Games
Three firms involved in flagger's worksite death get WorkSafeBC orders.
WorkSafeBC has issued orders to three firms in connection to the recent death of a Cowichan traffic flagger.
Richmond's Island Traffic Services Ltd. received two orders during WorkSafe's ongoing probe into how Maggie Feeley, a Cobble Hill mother of three, was critically injured after being pinned by a Stone Pacific gravel truck Oct. 21 on the job on Beverley Street. She died in hospital on Oct. 23.
Single orders were also given to the site's prime contractor Victoria's O.K. Industries Ltd. and to Duncan's Range E.L. Kincade.
"There were a lot of contributing factors that led to this tragedy," said WorkSafe's Alexandra Skinner-Reynolds. "Who knows what one single factor could have made a difference?"
To prevent future incidents, the three firms involved in Feeley's death were issued various orders on Friday based on the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.
WorkSafe staff found there Island Traffic Services had no traffic-control plan in place to ensure all people on site were aware of the traffic-control arrangements and procedures. Employers must ensure whenever traffic control is required, those plans must be known to all involved before work begins.
WorkSafe also ruled Island Traffic Services' worker Feeley did not not indicate to the truck driver she was going into the hazard area behind the truck. WorkSafe stipulates adequate safety procedures to minimize possible collisions in hazardous work areas. That means use of a traffic-control system; enforced speed limits of mobile equipment; and pedestrians and mobile equipment operators acknowledging each other's presence before a person on foot enters a danger zone.
Regarding Range Kincade, WorkSafe found the driver of the tandem gravel truck, with pup trailer, stopped to ask where to dump the load, "then proceeded to back up without using a method that would ensure it was safe to do so," states WorkSafe. Regulations stipulate if an equipment operator's view is blocked, that rig can't move until action is taken to protect the operator and other workers from injury.
In the case of O.K. Industries, WorkSafe found the prime contractor did not ensure all people on site were aware of hazards that could be created on site. Not all subcontractors attended a pre-job meeting; there was no traffic-control plan in place, no procedures for workers to follow when entering hazardous areas; no procedure for equipment operators to follow when there's worker traffic on the ground, and no communication plan between equipment operators and traffic-control folks.
"The prime contractor did not ensure all workers were given a site orientation, including those entering the site after start-up," Worksafe states.
All those items must be covered at the pre-job meeting. If workers or sub-contractors miss the meeting, the prime contractor must make sure they get orientation before starting work.
Orders issued Friday are the start of WorkSafe's investigation, Skinner-Reynolds stressed. Final findings could take six weeks.
"These are just initial orders, not conclusive reasons why this young woman was killed. These are health and safety infractions at the site; the investigation will conclude what caused the accident."
"WorkSafe writes orders to any firm and they have to comply with the orders on this job site," said Skinner-Reynolds. "We're like the police of workplace health and safety."
And those orders for process and procedures must be carried to the three firms' other sites too, she noted.
"Enforcement starts with written orders. Penalties involve repeated non-compliance, and an egregious disregard for health and safety; enforcement accelerates if the problem isn't fixed," said Skinner-Reynolds
Penalties can involve fines based on an employer's payroll — a smaller penalty for a smaller payroll firm, or, in some cases, jail time.
A work site can also be closed if deemed unsafe, and posing imminent danger to health and safety.