Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Iqaluit July 20, 2012 - 3:36 pm

Iqaluit contractor charged with worker safety violations

Eight counts allege unsafe work in confined space

DAVID MURPHY

An Iqaluit contracting business faces eight counts of violating the Nunavut Safety Act, charging documents filed in court reveal.

The charges were laid after an investigation by the Worker’s Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Nunavut Construction Ltd. made its first appearance in the Nunavut Court of Justice July 16 on the eight charges, which are related to events alleged to have occurred July 2, 2011 in Iqaluit.

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. employs five staff and performs services such as welding, storage and warehousing, heavy equipment rental and leasing, mechanical contracting, and gas system services.

They often handle sewage, water, fuel and supply tanks, and do metal-working.

Nunavut Construction Ltd., while performing work for another company, is alleged to have:

• failed to take reasonable safety precautions for its employees;

• failed to provide employees with emergency evacuation procedures;

• failed to provide employees with safe means of communicating with authorities;

• failed to ensure instruction of each worker in safe practices of their duties;
• unlawfully permitted workers to operate machinery or equipment without training;

• unlawfully permitted workers to enter a confined space without using a body harness, lanyard and lifeline;

• failed to develop a written code of practice for work in confined spaces;

• failed to submit a code of practice for entry and work in confined spaces to the Chief Safety Officer before permitting a worker inside a confined space.

Although the WSCC could not comment specifically on how the allegations were brought to their attention, their senior communications officer, Kim MacEachern, told Nunatsiaq News via email that “the WSCC may undertake an investigation any time there is reason to suspect a contravention of the Acts”

“A safety officer may note a contravention while onsite, or a worker or member of the general public can report one,” MacEachern said.

The chief safety officer at the WSCC, Judith Kainz, is responsible for enforcing the Safety Act.

The WSCC took a year to conduct a “thorough” investigation before laying the charges, MacEachern said.

The case was adjourned to August.

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