The corner of Yarrow Central Road and Cherry Street in Yarrow where an Emterra swamper was injured as he rode on a garbage truck as it reversed into cedar hedges on Nov. 17, 2017. (Google Streetview)

Trash collection company violated rules when Chilliwack worker hurt

WorkSafeBC report issued into less serious of two swamper injuries in November 2017

The City of Chilliwack’s curbside garbage and recycling contractor will not be fined for one of two workplace incidents that saw swampers injured on the job last November.

A WorkSafeBC inspection report obtained by The Progress this week found Emterra Environmental violated four Workers Compensation Act (WCA) regulations and two Occupational Health and Safety Regulations (OHSR) when a swamper riding on the back of a truck was injured on Nov. 17, 2017.

The worker was riding on the back step-platform of the truck at Yarrow Central Road and Cherry Street at approximately 1:15 p.m. that day while the unit reversed. The Emterra employee was “compressed” between the unit and 12-foot-high cedar hedging.

Not only was riding on the step while reversing a violation of workplace safety rules, but it’s what the employees did after that created more violations.

The report found the worker’s injury was not adequately assessed and he received no first aid treatment. The driver continued to finish picking up garbage or recycling on the route while the injured worker rode in the unit for about an hour.

He received no first aid at the depot after the route, and was brought to hospital in a pickup truck. These were OSHR contraventions as first aid attendants, equipment and service are required by employers.

But the incident on Nov. 17 was nowhere near as serious as another Emterra swamper injury just 12 days later. It was on Nov. 29 and just his sixth shift on the job when Daniel Winston fell off the back of a Emterra garbage truck on Kipp Avenue.

Daniel Winston in hospital soon after he was seriously injured falling off the back of an Emterra garbage truck downtown Chilliwack on Nov. 29, 2017. (Submitted)

He suffered a serious and likely life-altering head injury that he has still not recovered from. For weeks after the incident he could only communicate via facial expressions, was unable to talk, walk, eat or drink by himself.

• READ MORE: VIDEO: Garbage truck examined after worker injured downtown Chilliwack

• READ MORE: UPDATE: ‘Marathon not a sprint’ recovery for Chilliwack swamper who fell off recycling truck

• READ MORE: GoFundMe started for Chilliwack man seriously injured in recycling truck incident

That incident is still under investigation by a WorkSafeBC fatal and serious injuries team, according to a spokesperson.

While Emterra was not fined for the Yarrow incident, a fine could be instituted for the downtown Chilliwack incident involving Winston.

Administrative penalties are issued by WorkSafeBC for a number of reasons.

“The amount of a penalty is based on the nature of the violation, a company’s history of violations, and the size of the company’s payroll. Penalties can be greater if certain specific factors are present, such as for high-risk or intentional violations, or if the company has received a prior penalty for substantially the same violation in the past three years.

“The maximum penalty for 2018 is $646,302.88.”

In 2017, WorkSafeBC imposed 339 penalties totalling more than $8 million.

The largest fine issued to a Chilliwack company so far in 2018 was $44,922.80 to Dual Kloot Construction. On May 29, the company was building a barn when an emploeye fell 5.5 metres after a two-by-four strapping he was walking on broke. Personal fall protection wasn’t being used properly, there were no anchorage connectors for a lifeline, and trusses were being used as anchorage points without proof of load capacity.

“The firm’s failure to ensure the use of fall protection was a repeated and high-risk violation,” according to the WorkSafeBC determination. “Also, the firm failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training, and supervision necessary to ensure their health and safety, a repeated violation.”

Of the 10 fines issued so far this year in Chilliwack, all were for inadequate fall protection of workers on roofs.

All administrative penalties issued by WorkSafeBC are published on its website and in the WorkSafe Magazine.


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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RCMP on the scene of a Nov. 29, 2017 incident that saw an Emterra swamper seriously injured when he fell off the back on Kipp Avenue downtown Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)

CVSE inspectors on the scene of a Nov. 29, 2017 incident that saw an Emterra swamper seriously injured when he fell off the back on Kipp Avenue downtown Chilliwack. (Paul Henderson/ Progress file)

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