News Release - February 9, 2011
OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH AND SAFETY CHARGES AGAINST SASKENERGY STAYED
The Ministry of Justice and Attorney General has stayed charges against SaskEnergy for Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) legislation violations related to the April 2008 gas explosion which resulted in the deaths of Jack and Brent Boxall. Charges against a back hoe operator involved in the incident are proceeding.
The initial charges were the result of the investigation by Occupational Health Officers into the April 18, 2008, gas explosion at B.J. Sausage and Meats in Nipawin, Saskatchewan.
The Ministry of Justice made the decision to stay the charges against SaskEnergy after consultations with independent experts in the oil and gas industry. Experts on gas industry best practices were unable to confirm that physical guarding of gas risers at demolition sites was a recognized industry best practice.
As a result, the Ministry of Justice could not prove that SaskEnergy had failed to exercise due diligence to adequately guard the gas riser against damage.
OHS prosecutions proceed in situations where it is determined that a failure to comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act or regulations contributed to a serious injury or fatality within the workplace, subject to the defence of due diligence. Whether or not an incident results in a prosecution or conviction, the OHS Division works to ensure that the causes of the incident are identified so that effective measures can be taken to prevent similar events from reoccurring.
Based on this determination, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety is conducting a review of guarding practices in the natural gas industry and discussing the merit of establishing a best practice that can be promoted within the industry.
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