A 21-year-old construction worker’s death at the site of what is now the Jim Pattison Children’s Hospital warrants a million-dollar fine, according to a Saskatoon Crown prosecutor.
During a teleconference court hearing Friday, prosecutor Buffy Rodgers said Eric Ndayishimiye’s death on July 21, 2016, was preventable and the result of a “foreseeable danger.” Ndayishimiye was crushed beneath a 560-kilogram metal table cart after a worker removed two pins from the massive tabletop on wheels.
“The crown does submit that the circumstances of this case are egregious with very few mitigating factors,” Rodgers said.
Her argument for a $1 million fine falls below the maximum penalty of $1.5 million. Banff Constructors Ltd.’s laywer David Myrol argued $200,000 to $560,000 is the appropriate range, and suggested the fine be at the lower end of that spectrum.
Court heard the victim came to Canada with his family after fleeing from Rwanda. Given his education and his status as the eldest child, he was also a provider for his family.
Ndayishimiye had worked for Banff Constructors for just under six months at the time of his death. Banff was a subcontractors to Graham Construction, which was the primary contractor on the site.
Graham was never charged.
Last month, Judge Brent Klause convicted Banff Constructors of two offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to make arrangements for the use, handling and transport of trolleys in a manner that protects the health and safety of workers. The other conviction is for failing to provide any necessary information, instruction, training and supervision resulting in the death of a worker.
Alberta-based Pilosio Canada Inc., the cart supplier, was acquitted.
Myrol said Banff was incorporated in Saskatchewan in 1983, and isn’t a “callous” or “indifferent” international company. The nature of Banff’s contract meant there was no pressure to finish the job early, Myrol added.
In the days following Ndayishimiye’s death, Banff representatives brought flowers and food to the victim’s home. Myrol said they stayed for hours, as a family friend translated their condolences and they shared memories and photos. Other employees later visited the home, and there was a 13-vehicle procession of Banff vehicles on the way to Ndayishimiye’s funeral and gravesite.
“These are not the actions of a company that doesn’t care,” Myrol said.
As a result of the victim’s work benefits, his family received $200,000 in life insurance payments, according to Myrol. A golf tournament held by Banff and Graham resulted in another $150,000 for the family.
The judge’s decision is expected Aug. 6.