Health and Safety
JD Irving fined $80k for sawmill worker death in 2016
By Ellen Cools
In a Saint John, N.B. court on Tuesday, J.D. Irving entered a guilty plea to violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which resulted in the death of one of the company’s sawmill workers, 52-year-old William Gregg, on Feb. 29, 2016.
According to the statement of fact, Gregg suffered a fatal accident while working overtime, the CBC reports.
Although there were no witnesses of the event, operational time stamps suggest Gregg tried to fix a logjam by switching the chipper forward and then into reverse, and then used a pry bar while the chipper and in-feed belt were operating.
“It is believed that the pry bar used by Mr. Gregg was energized by the movement and the weight of the logs and Mr. Gregg was struck in the side of the neck and jaw area by the pry bar,” said the statement. Gregg later died in hospital.
The CBC reports that J.D. Irving “admitted in court that it failed to ensure that Gregg complied with the legislative requirements by locking out and ensuring the chipper machine was in a zero energy state when he attempted to dislodge the logjam.”
The company’s lawyer, Catherine Lahey, said J.D. Irving has since hired three more supervisors, provided more safety training and spent nearly $400K on mill remodelling costs and safety equipment.
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