Nexen charged in the death of 2 employees at Long Lake facility

Half of a building's roof and wall was blown off during the explosion at Nexen's Long Lake facility. Global News

Nexen is facing a total of eight charges after two employees were killed in an explosion at the company’s Long Lake facility near Anzac, Alta. in January of 2016.

The explosion happened inside a building in the compressed gas area at the facility as workers were changing out valves on a compressor. Dave Williams, 30, and Drew Foster, 52, died as a result of the blast.

According to Alberta Labour, Nexen has been charged with:

  • 2 counts of failure to ensure the health and safety of a worker.
  • 2 counts of failure to ensure all workers were familiar with implemented procedures and measures implemented at the work site.
  • 4 counts of failure to ensure equipment was serviced, maintained, repaired or dismantled in accordance with specifications by a certified engineer or the manufacturer.

None of the charges has been proven in court.

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READ MORE: ‘Dark day’ for Nexen after fatal explosion at oilsands site near Fort McMurray

In July 2016, Nexen executives said the cause of the explosion was the employees themselves.

Ron Bailey, senior vice-president of Canadian operations, said Williams and Foster were working outside the scope of their approved work activities when the explosion happened.

“We have a specific work scope that we say we should do. They were working on something other than that,” he said.

Bailey declined to elaborate on the details of what exactly the employees were doing. He said work was ongoing on the hydrocracker unit itself and the scope had been clearly defined for employees.

READ MORE: Employees caused Nexen Long Lake explosion: Company executives

In a statement to Global News, Nexen said it is aware of the Crown’s decision to lay charges.

“Our deepest sympathies remain with the families and individuals involved,” the company said. “A detailed review of these charges is currently underway; however, as the matter is before the courts we are unable to comment further.”

— With files from Julia Wong, Caley Ramsay, Slav Kornik

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