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Worker death will cost Alberta road company $295,000 in penalties

Last week, Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. pleaded guilty to one charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker.  (sirastock/Shutterstock - image credit)
Last week, Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. pleaded guilty to one charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker. (sirastock/Shutterstock - image credit)

A paving and road construction company will have to pay $295,000 in penalties after pleading guilty to failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker who died nearly three years ago.

The penalties stem from an incident on a road construction site in the County of Newell on July 23, 2021. A worker was asphyxiated while cleaning out a gravel bin with a running conveyor.

Smith Group Holdings Ltd., as well as subsidiary Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd., were jointly charged with 15 counts under occupational health and safety laws.

Last week, Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. pleaded guilty to one charge under the OHS Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker.

Other charges against the firm — and all charges against Smith Group Holdings Ltd. — were withdrawn.

Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. will pay $295,000 in total penalties, including a $1,000 fine.

"Under a creative sentence, $244,000 will be provided to the Alberta Construction Safety Association to develop a three-dimensional incident re-creation video, a series of learning videos, a toolbox talk resource guide and a safety session open to all industries," the province said in a release.

"The remaining $50,000 will be provided to the Brooks Fire Department to purchase new rescue equipment."

Both the company and the Crown have up to 30 days to appeal the conviction or penalty.