Shercom Industries fined $420K in teen worker’s death

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WATCH ABOVE: Shercom Industries has been fined $420,000 following a workplace incident that left an 18-year-old man dead. As Rebekah Lesko explains, it is one of the highest Occupational Health and Safety fines handed down in Saskatchewan history – Jan 12, 2018

Shercom Industries has been fined $300,000 and an additional $120,000 for a victim surcharge fine, after teenager Cade Sprackman died on the job site in January 2015.

Sprackman , 18, is remembered as a bright and creative young man.

“He had big dreams to get into cinema one day. He wanted to direct. He was very artistic. He loved to paint,” said Cade’s mother, Michelle Sprackman.

READ MORE: Man killed in Saskatchewan workplace accident

After graduating high school in Hudson Bay, Sprackman got a job at Shercom Industries, north of Saskatoon, to help save for film school.

“This was a stepping stone to a brighter future,” said Michelle.

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After three weeks of work, the 18-year-old was killed on the job site, after his hand and arm were caught in the pulley of a tire shredder conveyor belt.

On Thursday in Saskatoon provincial court, Shercom was fined $420,000, after pleading guilty to an occupational health and safety violation.

“It is one of the highest fines that we have seen in this province for a corporation of this size,” said senior Crown prosecutor Buffy Rodgers.

The judge said the fine sends a message that workplace safety must be paramount.

She went on to say the company had knowledge of safety concerns happening on site, but never created a culture of workplace safety until after the death.

The judge said one aggravating factor was “the evidence that safety concerns were considered secondary to profit.”

The judge said just 10 days before Sprackman’s death, there was an incident that occurred on the same piece of equipment with the same safety concern.

“That should be a red flag in your system that you have to do something. Cade would be here today if they would’ve done something,” said Jerry Sprackman, Cade’s father.

READ MORE: Prince Albert, Sask. company fined for OHS workplace safety violations

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Safety programs and other measures, such as emergency stopping mechanisms, have since been installed.

“There is significant safety improvements at the organization following the event. Events like these, can always cause a company to change and this was certainly a catalyst for change,” said John Agioritis,  Shercom Industries’ defence lawyer.

The $120,000 victim surcharge fine will go toward a provincial fund, which provides services to victims of crime.

Shercom will have two years to pay the fine.

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