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Key contractor on Site C dam hit with $662,000 WorkSafeBC fine

The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., on April 18, 2017. A United Nations committee on eliminating discrimination is warning Canada that continued construction of the Site C hydro dam in British Columbia may violate international agreements. In a letter to Canada's UN ambassador to the UN, the body's anti-discrimination committee says continuation of work on the dam goes against the of free and informed consent from local Indigenous people.
The Site C Dam location is seen along the Peace River in Fort St. John, B.C., on April 18, 2017. A United Nations committee on eliminating discrimination is warning Canada that continued construction of the Site C hydro dam in British Columbia may violate international agreements. In a letter to Canada's UN ambassador to the UN, the body's anti-discrimination committee says continuation of work on the dam goes against the of free and informed consent from local Indigenous people. The Canadian Press

For the third time in as many years, a major contractor working on the Site C dam project has been hit with a six-digit WorkSafeBC fine.

The safety regulator imposed fine of more than $662,000 on Peace River Hydro Partners – a consortium of companies that holds the main civil works contract for the megaproject.

Site C construction achieves major breakthrough
Site C construction achieves major breakthrough

According to a discipline summary, WorkSafeBC says the penalty stems from a series of inspections that found multiple health and safety infractions.

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READ MORE: Site C construction reaches major breakthrough at river diversion tunnel

The infractions included failure to use wheel chocs and curbs for rock trucks near the edges of elevated areas, emergency facilities, chemical labelling and ventilation in a lab.

“The firm also failed to provide its workers with the training necessary to ensure their health and safety, and to keep adequate training records,” reads the discipline notice.

Behind-the-scenes tour of Site C dam construction
Behind-the-scenes tour of Site C dam construction

“In addition, the firm failed to take action to correct reported unsafe conditions without delay, and failed overall to ensure the health and safety of all workers at its worksite. These were all repeated violations.”

In a statement, the consortium said it “takes the safety of its workers very seriously.”

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READ MORE: BC Hydro ‘scaling down’ work on Site C Dam amid coronavirus pandemic

“PRHP has since complied with all written orders associated with the penalty and undertook immediate steps to put operational improvements in place to prevent future occurrences,” said the statement.

“We remain committed to the health and safety of our workers.”

In the last three years, PHRP has been assessed WorkSafeBC penalties worth more than $1.6 million.

READ MORE: Global exclusive: Behind-the-scenes at the Site C workers camp

The consortium was given another $662,000 fine in August 2019 after a worker was shocked when using an improperly maintained circuit breaker during a tunneling operation.

And in May 2018, PHRP was fined more than $310,000 for inadequately protecting workers against silica dusted created during tunneling.