Iqaluit business reaches settlement with Nunavut worker safety agency
Nunavut Construction Ltd. faced eight charges in connection with 2011 tank fire
An Iqaluit contracting business avoided a scheduled two-day trial before the Nunavut Court of Justice Sept. 19 after the Crown, defence and the Workers Safety Compensation Commission came to a resolution in relation to a 2011 tank fire.
Nunavut Construction Ltd. is not to be confused with the much larger firm, Nunavut Construction Corp., with whom it has no connection and which has been folded into the NCC group of companies.
Nunavut Construction Ltd. had been charged in 2012 with eight counts of violating the Nunavut Safety Act.
The charges stemmed from a fire in the mostly-empty tank 14, at the Iqaluit tank farm, on July 2, 2011.
On that day, two Nunavut Construction Ltd. workers were doing cleaning work inside the big fuel tank.
But a “fire erupted in the tank” said Crown prosecutor Doug Garson.
The workers were able to get out without serious injury, although Garson stated that it was a “serious incident.”
Defence lawyer Mia Manocchio and Garson decided on an “alternative measures agreement” which requires that the company go through mandatory safety courses over the next four years.
The resolutions include:
• officers and directors at Nunavut Construction Ltd. must complete a supervisors safety course every year for the next four years;
• supervisors and managers must complete the supervisors safety training course every year for four years;
• all remaining workers must complete a safety training course every year for four years; and,
• Nunavut Construction Ltd. must provide an orientation plan to the WSCC for new workers for each job site and-or job type.
The WSCC chief safety officer must approve all safety-training courses, and orientation plans have to be acceptable to the chief safety officer.
Although Manocchio told court that Nunavut Construction Ltd. accepts responsibility for the incident, she said it is not a matter of the company being guilty or not guilty, but that safety measures are now in place to ensure workers are safe in the future.
Judge René Foisy praised the two sides for working hard to find a resolution.
Foisy said this kind of resolution is not common, but is “a good one” and that should be encouraged in the future.
He said the negotiated resolution is in the best interests of the public, the company, the workplace and the employees who will be affected by the alternative measures agreement.
The Nunavut Court of Justice will hear the case again in one year’s time. That’s to show that the resolutions are being followed properly and “in good faith,” Garson said.
Nunavut Construction Ltd. performs services such as welding, storage and warehousing, heavy equipment rental and leasing, mechanical contracting, and gas system services.
It often handles sewage, water, fuel and supply tanks, and does metal-working.