(Upsplash)

WorkSafeBC has penalized two Victoria-based companies for workplace safety violations.

Langford’s Verity Construction Ltd. / Verity Developments and Victoria’s Point Hope Maritime Ltd. were fined $122,403.34 and $84,999.31 respectively as penalties for high-risk violations for working from heights and for confined spaces.

According to WorkSafeBC, Verify’s penalized offence took place in early August when an inspector visited one of their construction sites.

In a media release, the inspector said they observed a scaffolding tower without guardrails being used to access the sixth floor. Verify failed to ensure the scaffold was being used safely with guardrails following a stop-work order from WorkSafeBC. 

Verity Construction Ltd. / Verity Developments was then slapped with a repeated high-risk violation fine amounting to over $122,000.

In 2021, there were over 4,000 injuries from falls reported to WorkSafeBC. Just under 500 are considered to be serious injuries and there were six fatalities in BC because of a fall.

The second fine that the agency handed out was to Point Hope Maritime Ltd. 

WorkSafeBC say they attended the firm’s dry-dock shipyard in response to an incident where a worker was seriously injured.

The worker who was injured had been power-washing in confined space on a ferry bay and was found after a suspected fall to be disoriented. 

WorkSafeBC says it found several deficiencies and oversights regarding the safety of workers in these confined spaces and issued the firm a stop-work order.

Point Hope Maritime Ltd. failed to conduct an adequate hazard assessment for the confined space work activity that aligned with WorkSafeBC’s standards and they also failed to have written procedures for safe work in confined spaces based on the assessment. 

They also failed to conduct testing and inspection of a moderate hazard atmosphere and they failed to properly train employees on safe work in confined spaces with hazards involved. 

All of these safe-work failures resulted in the fine of just under $85,000.

The amount of a penalty is usually based on the size of the employer’s payroll, and the nature of the violation.

“Penalties can be larger if certain specific factors are present, such as for high-risk or intentional circumstances, or if the employer has received a penalty about a substantially similar violations in the past three years,” WorkSafeBC said in a media statement. 

Criteria for how they determine the amount a fine shall be in the occasion of a failure to comply with their standards. 

In 2021, WorkSafeBC handed out over 350 fines resulting in over $7.9 million.

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