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Company fined over hopper incident

United Concrete and Gravel in Williams Lake has been fined $67,567 by WorkSafe BC.

United Concrete and Gravel in Williams Lake has been fined $67,567 by WorkSafe BC for an incident where one of its workers was buried up to his waist in a gravel hopper.

The incident occurred on the morning of Thursday, Jan. 21, 2016, and using rope and a pulley system, emergency service crews were able to dig the man out.

At the time, Williams Lake Fire Chief Des Webster said staff had been alerted to the emergency after hearing the worker yell for help and estimated he was trapped for about 45 minutes before being lifted to safety and unharmed.

In its report, WorkSafe BC said an inspector visited the site on Jan. 22, and determined there were violations of the workmen’s compensation act and Occupational Health and Safety.

The report stated the employer had failed to take sufficient precautions for the prevention of work related injuries or illnesses, not maintained a safe workplace or safe working conditions; and did not exercise due diligence to prevent these circumstances.

United Concrete officer manager Sue Zacharias told the Tribune, it was an accident and luckily no one was hurt.

“Sometimes all the paper work is great, but because of miscommunication or a misunderstanding between two humans it can happen,” she said.

It was the first accident in 40 years, she added, noting the company does not plan to appeal the fine.