Digest: R v Nalco Champion, 2018 SKPC 61

Date:November 18, 2019
 
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Reported as: 2018 SKPC 61

Docket Number: PC18057 , 24453195

Court: Provincial Court

Date: 2019-11-18

Judges:

  • Wiegers

Subjects:

  • Regulatory Offences � Saskatchewan Employment Act
  • Public Welfare Offences�� Occupational Health and Safety � Death of a Worker
  • Regulatory Offence � Strict Liability ��Defence�of�Due Diligence

Digest: The defendant company was charged with contravening s. 3-78(g) of The Saskatchewan Employment Act by failing to meet its duty under s. 302(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations to take all practicable steps to prevent exposure of a worker to a hazardous chemical substance. The defendant denied the allegation, claiming that the Crown had failed to discharge its burden of proof or, alternatively, that it relied upon the defence of reasonable care. The charge arose after an employee of the defendant died after he was exposed to lethal amounts of hydrogen sulfide. The defendant�s business related to obtaining and analyzing samples of �produced water� (crude oil extracted from oil wells containing a mixture of oil, water, salt, gases and other substances) from oil pipelines in order to recommend blends of chemical additives that would inhibit corrosion of pipelines. It had business relationships with 50 oilfield companies in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and assigned employees to each of them to take liquid samples for analysis. In this case, the employee was assigned to Harvest Energy Corporation and had sampled at the site about 100 times before the incident that caused his death. The liquid sampling occurred at a pressure gauge point inside one of Harvest�s buildings at its facility. The task in which the employee had been engaged was one he had performed successfully on thousands of occasions and would take no more than five minutes. He had received training in the task and testing had found him competent to do so. The defendant�s employees were not required to wear respirators when taking liquid samples unless the client insisted on it. In the vast majority of cases the client, including Harvest, did not.�On the incident date, the employee was not wearing a respirator and did not have one with him. When the employee removed the pressure gauge to insert a spigot into the sampling valve, he detected a small leak and went to another area of the building to turn off the inlet valve. However, he had inadvertently removed a retainer ring that held a ball valve designed to restrain...

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