Tower Arctic to pay $86,000 after worksite explosion injury
Company pleaded guilty to the charges
Tower Arctic Ltd. has been fined $86,250 for violating the Nunavut Safety Act after a man was severely injured in a barrel explosion on his first day of work in 2018.
“It is a matter of luck that there were no permanent injuries or even death,” stated Nunavut Court judge Susan Cooper in her written sentence, dated Dec. 14.
Steven Innuara was working his first day with Tower Arctic in Pond Inlet when he drilled into a barrel labelled “hazardous materials,” following his supervisor’s lead, causing an explosion.
The top of the barrel blew off, hitting Innuara in the face, breaking his face shield and knocking him to the ground semi-conscious.
He had several broken teeth, cuts on his face and chin, and singed hair.
After first being brought to the local health centre, Innuara was medevaced to Iqaluit, then to Ottawa a few days later.
Innuara returned to work about two weeks after the accident.
Tower Arctic, a large company that has operated in the eastern Arctic since 1945, was found to have violated section four of the safety act by not doing a hazard assessment before starting the job, failing to determine what was inside the barrel, and failing to decontaminate the barrel.
Innuara also did not get a safety orientation and was not properly supervised on his first day on the job site.
“The offending behaviour appears to have been the result of carelessness and thoughtlessness rather than a deliberate disregard of clear safety protocols,” Cooper wrote.
Tower Arctic pleaded guilty to the charges and was ordered to pay the fine by the end of March 2021.