Publication:

Valley Journal Advertiser - 2021-07-20

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Judge imposes $107,500 penalty in workplace death

BUSINESS

STEVE BRUCE SALTWIRE NETWORK sbruce@saltwire.com @Steve_Courts

A waste disposal company in the Annapolis Valley has been handed a $107,500 financial penalty for safety violations in connection with a mishap on a garbage truck three years ago that killed a young employee. Ryan Durling, 21, of Margaretsville, died after he was crushed by a trash compacting ram inside an EFR Environmental garbage truck in Port Williams on May 10, 2018. Durling was part of a crew that was collecting large household items in Kings County during the annual spring cleanup. He had gone into the truck through an access door to urinate, as workers were known to do when they were on garbage runs and a washroom wasn’t available. The provincial Labour Department laid four Occupational Health and Safety Act charges each against EFR Environmental and its parent company, RE Group, in August 2019. A lawyer entered two guilty pleas on behalf of EFR Environmental in March, when the companies were scheduled to go to trial in Kentville provincial court. The company accepted responsibility for failing to ensure that an access door to the truck was fitted with an interlock device that would have prevented it from opening while moving parts were in motion or would have disconnected the power, causing the moving parts to stop immediately upon the door being opened. EFR Environmental also admitted failing to have processes in place to detect the hazard during daily pre-trip inspections. After three adjournments due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the sentencing hearing finally went ahead on July 14.

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