Tower Arctic charged with workplace safety violations
Worker in Pond Inlet seriously injured by explosion last September, says WSCC
The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission of the Northwest Territories and Nunavut has filed six charges in the Nunavut Court of Justice against Tower Arctic Ltd. under the Nunavut Safety Act.
Tower Arctic is a well-known company that has done business in the eastern Arctic since 1945.
The charges relate to alleged offences in violation of the Safety Act and the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations.
None of these allegations have been proven in court.
The charges are in connection with an incident in Pond Inlet at the Tower Arctic shop and garage work site that took place on Sept. 19, 2018.
On that day, a worker suffered serious injuries while using a hand-held grinder to make cuts into the top of a metal barrel. Sparks from the grinder ignited chemical residue contained in the barrel causing an explosion, the WSCC said.
In 2018, Tower Arctic, which is listed on Nunavut Tunngavik Inc.’s registry of Inuit-owned companies and on the GN’s list of Nunavut companies, won a $89-million contract for Iqaluit and Pond Inlet marine projects: a small-craft harbour at Pond Inlet and a deep-sea port and small-craft harbour in Iqaluit.
As listed in an Aug. 30 WSCC release, the alleged offences include failing to:
• take all reasonable precautions and adopt and carry out all reasonable techniques and procedures to ensure the health and safety of every person;
• arrange for the use, handling, storage and transport of articles and substances in a manner that protects the health and safety of workers;
• provide information, instruction, training and supervision that was necessary to protect the health and safety of workers;
• ensure that work being done was sufficiently and competently supervised;
• ensure that supervisors have completed an approved regulatory familiarization program;
• ensure that a worker was trained in matters necessary to protect the health and safety of workers at a work site.
In its release, the WSCC said it wanted to remind all employers that their legislated worksite responsibilities include ensuring all workers and supervisors receive training, instruction and supervision necessary to ensure the safety of workers and the worksite.
The WSCC said employers must also have and maintain an occupational health and safety program that is current and relevant to the potential hazards at their worksite.
Tower Arctic’s first court appearance for the charges is scheduled for Sept. 9 in Iqaluit.