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West Kootenay logging company fined $6,500 for unsafe practices

This incident occurred at the Hlookoff Logging site in Park Siding
Hlookoff Logging has been fined $6,500+ from WorkSafeBC after a worker was seriously injured at a harvesting operation in Park Siding. Photo: Unsplash

A West Kootenay logging business has been hit with a $6,500+ fine from WorkSafeBC after an employee was seriously injured at a job site earlier this year, just outside of Fruitvale.

WorkSafeBC inspected the harvesting operation of Hlookoff Logging Ltd., located in Park Siding, in response to the March 2022 report of an injured worker.

According to the WorkSafeBC report, a tree had been felled directly across a skyline (a stationary line), which caused it to jump at its other end, striking and seriously injuring a worker.

WorkSafeBC says it determined that Hlookoff Logging Ltd. “routinely used uncertified workers and untrained fallers and did not adequately inspect their work.”

Furthermore, WorkSafeBC reports, “The firm failed to ensure that workers who fall trees were certified and qualified to do so.

“The firm also failed to ensure that trees were not felled if they could strike any stationary or running line of operational equipment, and that felled trees had complete and cleaned out undercuts.

“In addition, the firm failed to ensure the health and safety of all workers.”

These are all high-risk violations.

The $6,516 fine was imposed last month on July 14.

WorkSafeBC has the legislative authority to levy financial penalties against employers for health and safety violations.

The authority says the primary purpose of an administrative penalty is to motivate the employer receiving the penalty — and other employers — to comply with occupational health and safety legislation and regulation, and to keep workplaces safe.

WorkSafeBC’s policy is designed to ensure that employers of similar size generally receive similar penalty amounts in similar cases.

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 violation in the past three years.

The statutory maximum penalty amount in 2022 is $710,488.79.

This maximum is set out in legislation and is adjusted in January of each year.

WorkSafeBC implemented policy changes in 2016 to the way it calculates penalties.

Prior to these changes, the statutory maximum penalty was $75,000.

Read more: Businesses call on WorkSafeBC to rebate $2.9 billion in surplus funds

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Sheri Regnier

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