Safety ruling likely to set legal precedent (3/19)
"It's a first, so all companies will certainly have to ask themselves regarding their workplace health and safety policies, 'Are we doing what we are obliged to?'" said Vincent Martinbeault, the attorney who handled the case. "There is a duty of foresight. There is a duty of authority. There is a duty of execution. You cannot simply fall back on saying, 'I put up a poster' or 'I distributed a document.'"
Transpave Inc. of Saint-Eustache, north of Montreal, pleaded guilty last December to criminal negligence causing the 2005 death of Steve L'Ecuyer. Mr. L'Ecuyer, 23, was crushed to death by machinery as he tried to clear a backlog of stones on the production line.
An investigation by Quebec's health and safety board revealed a safety device intended to prevent such an accident had been deliberately disabled for most of 2005 and 2004 so as to avoid interruptions in production.
Since the accident, Transpave has spent more than $500,000 to improve safety in its two factories.