Dinoflex Group has been authorized by WorkSafe BC to resume full operations in their Salmon Arm Industrial Park plant following the death of an employee on Aug. 28.
The orders include lifting the restrictions on six of the company’s seven power presses, which are used to compress recycled rubber into block, bricks and matting.
Shane Mackenzie Gorner, 19, died after getting caught in machinery at the manufacturing plant. The BC Coroner is still conducting its investigation into the fatal accident.
Dinoflex was previously ordered to cease all use of any of the recycled rubber processing machinery including rubber block cutters, a laser-guided water cutter, rubber compound blender and mixer units, and a rubber block handling unit.
The orders were later modified a number of times to allow for the use of a slicer, paper press, tile press, tile mixer and paver mixer. The stop-use order had also been lifted for the water cutter on an interim basis to fabricate 18-panel specialty cuts for a trade show, subject to a series of guidelines.
One of the power presses was also authorized to begin operations on Sept. 20 after additional safeguards were fitted; however, the remaining six presses were still not permitted to be used.
“The point of operation of the #2,3,4,5,6, and 7 power presses, used to make rubber blocks at this workplace are not safeguarded to prevent injury to the operator or any other worker,” reads WorkSafe BC Inspector Jim Saunders’ report.
This is the order which was lifted effective Sept. 26.
WorkSafe BC, however, has issued notice to Dinoflex of possible penalties for unsafe operations during the safety upgrade period.
A report issued by Saunders on Sept. 25 states: “During a follow-up inspection of this work site, a worker… was observed completing installations on the high pressure water cutter. This equipment was not properly locked out (i.e. the worker did not have his lock applied to the equipment’s disconnect switch.) This employer has failed to ensure the health and safety of other workers present at the workplace at which the employer’s work is being carried out.”
The report goes on to say WorkSafe BC has determined that there are grounds for imposing an administrative penalty on the company; however, this remains under consideration by WorkSafe BC. No penalty or other enforcement action has been issued.
Dinoflex CEO Mark Bunz said a representative from the manufacturing company who supplied Dinoflex with the water cutter was installing a safeguarding light curtain on the unit but did not have his lock-out applied.
“Dinoflex personnel did, however, have the unit locked out with our lock-out procedures, which eliminates any power to the unit. We have since reviewed our procedures to ensure contractors comply with WorkSafe BC lock-out regulations.”
WorkSafe BC defines administrative penalties as fines for health and safety violations to motivate employers to comply with all relevant health and safety regulations. The organization will weigh the circumstance of each case as well as the seriousness of the violations and the size of the operation in determining the amount of the penalty. The maximum fine is $579,648.
Dinoflex Group would be given an opportunity to appeal any penalty orders.
In the wake of the tragedy, Dinoflex Group enlisted the services of an industrial engineering and design company specializing in safeguarding to assist in complying with the WorkSafe BC orders.
“It’s important to point out that WorkSafe BC conducted a prior audit as a normal course of business and safeguarding of the presses was not highlighted as a safety concern at that time,” Bunz wrote in a previous statement to the Observer.
Dinoflex Group employs more than 25 people. None of the staff members were laid off during the period when stop-work orders were in effect.