WSCC files new charges against Northwest Territories construction company in telehandler incident

The Workers’ Safety and Compensation Commission (WSCC) has filed new charges against construction company Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. for an incident last April in Fort Simpson, Northwest Territories

A WSCC press release describes two employees using a telescopic handler – a large construction vehicle with a long arm and a basket on top – to move the handrail of a staircase.

When the arm of the vehicle lifted the basket, it became unstable and one of the workers was thrown to the ground.

The WSCC said the worker sustained injuries, but did not provide details on the nature of the injuries or their severity.

Arctic Canada Construction Ltd. (ARCAN) faces seven counts of failing to properly train and supervise its employees, failing to meet regulatory requirements for the use of overhead separations, and other unnamed offenses.

The company is set to appear in territorial court for the first time on June 8 in Fort Simpson.

The charges against ARCAN are the second set of charges brought by the WSCC this year.

In February, the workers’ safety group announced that the Northwest Territories Power Corporation (NTPC) was facing 11 charges under the safety law.

These charges relate to Michael Chinna – an employee who died after being struck by a build-up of fallen ice at the Jack Fish power station.

The power company is due to enter a plea on May 17.

Michael Chinna, 39, loved exploring the outdoors, his family said. The electrical systems electrician apprentice died Sunday following a workplace incident at the Jackfish Generating Station in Yellowknife. (Submitted by Nancy Chinna)

A case involving another worker-related death appeared in territorial court on Wednesday.

Nogha Enterprises Ltd. was scheduled to enter a plea in Fort Simpson to five counts under the Homeland Security Act.

These charges relate to an incident that resulted in the death of 58-year-old Claude Fontaine.

On December 8, 2020, Fontaine was using an excavator to dig a pit in a gravel pit outside of Fort Simpson.

A WSCC press release at the time says Fontaine drowned when the side wall of the water-filled pit collapsed and the excavator fell into the pit.

Claude Fontaine with a fish. He died at age 58. (Submitted by André Fontaine)

The charges against Nogha Enterprises Ltd. include failure to provide adequate safety training, failure to ensure that work is competently supervised, failure to ensure that only competent workers operate machinery, failing to provide adequate safety training and failing to establish an effective communication system for workers at a remote site.

A GoFundMe set up at the time raised more than $20,000 to support Fontaine’s two sons.

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