The father of a CN crane operator killed on the job nearly nine years ago applauded the court system yesterday after $85,000 in fines was handed down to an Edmonton company and its president for their role in the accident.
Blaine Carson travelled from his home in Salmon Arm to attend the proceedings at Port Coquitlam Provincial Court on Thursday, where Scott Steel Ltd. was fined for failing to ensure workers' safety.
"I'd like to say that the judge did an excellent job of summing up what happened at the site and indicating that no amount of money, and this is a minor amount of money, just as it was a minor amount of money when CN was fined, pays for human lives and injuries," Mr. Carson said.
His son, William, and worker John Marti died when the CN Rail bridge they were working on collapsed in October of 1997. Another man lost a leg and a fourth sustained serious injuries.
The men were replacing parts of the wooden and steel bridge near Terrace, a job CN contracted out to Scott Steel Ltd., a small company from Edmonton.
On Thursday, the Provincial Court judge fined the company $70,000 and found its president personally liable for $15,000.
In 2000, CN was fined $50,000 under the federal Labour Code for negligence in the case.
Mr. Carson said he hoped that William's death, which left fatherless three boys aged 4, 6, and 8 at the time, will serve as a lesson.
"The judge said the only real thing we can do is public denunciation, so that it's a deterrence to others who might want to cut corners and hopefully it's a deterrence to big companies like CN who should know better. . . .
"You never get over it, after almost nine years now it's easier, but I think if you speak to anybody who's lost a child or lost anybody prematurely . . . it happens and life has to go on," he said.
An investigation by WorkSafe BC found in 1998 that Scott Steel Ltd. failed to ensure safety measures at the site.
Kevin Murray, director of investigations for WorkSafe BC, received a call from the Crown attorney on Thursday with the news. He said the case reinforces the importance of legal proceedings.
"It demonstrated that even though the wheels of justice sometimes grind slowly, they do grind."