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Worker's brain injury lands shipbuilder in court

Victor Lewin - Monday, August 31, 2015

A Halifax shipyard company must answer in court for the four violations of the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in a worker being seriously injured on the job in Jan. 2014.

The worker, who was sitting in his truck, had a traumatic brain injury and fractured skull after being struck by a wire rope clip from a snapped cable. The cable was towing a vessel at the Irving Shipyard.

Irving Shipbuilding Inc. faced arraignment this week in Halifax provincial court. The next court date for election and plea is set for Nov. 12.

Information sworn in July alleges that the shipbuilding company failed to safeguard the potentially hazardous machinery and handle, operate, inspect and maintain it; according to the engineering specifications of its manufacturer.

The company was also accused of failing to see that the maximum load, speed, capacity, working pressure and operational depth, as stipulated in the engineering and manufacturer's specifications, weren't exceeded.

A Labour Department investigator stated in a search warrant application that it was his belief a loop of wire rope connected to the cradle of the ship broke due to excess pressure applied by a winch. The document further alleges that the winch operator had never operated the machine prior to the day of the accident and hadn't been trained.

Consequently, the company also is charged with failure to ensure the competency of the machinery's operator and failure to take all reasonable precautions to maintain the safety and health of workers at the site.

Coping with a TBI after a work-related accident can be overwhelming. Turning to the courts for financial compensation can be an enormous relief to injured workers and their family members.

Source: The Chronicle Herald, Sherri Borden Colley, Aug. 25, 2015

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