MK Bay still hit with fines despite appeal to WorkSafeBC

A reviewing officer still found the marina on the hook for WorkSafe violations.

The MK Bay Marina has lost an appeal to WorkSafeBC (WSBC) over penalties relating to available safety equipment such as ladders.

However it wasn’t all bad, as the marina had a re-calculation on their fee. The prior fee of $39,708.23 was based on the payroll of the entire Regional District of Kitimat Stikine – the body who operates the facility – but now it will only be based on the payroll of the marina itself. That new figure wasn’t immediately known.

There were a number of arguments by the marina on the reported violations, from the authority of WSBC to respond to matters at the marina to the definition of the word “dock”.

However WSBC review officer Bruce Scott shot down all those arguments.

This entire process relates back to a January 2012 incident in which an employee at the marina fell into the water while clearing snow with a snowblower, the WSBC review decision states.

“According to the worker, he backed into the bullrail and fell,” it continues. “He was able to place his leg over a buoy attached to the bullrail and hoist himself back onto the dock.”

One point of argument by the regional district – the named employer in the report – was that sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations don’t apply to the marina because section 24.2 specifically applies to “docks”, regarding placement of ladders, and not other structures. The definitions are not quite clear in the regulations and it appears that the word “dock” is not used interchangeably with other structures.

But WSBC found that with no specific definition in the regulations, common usage must apply. The reviewing officer eventually concludes that the term “dock” can include all floating structures.

The marina’s own website also describes the facility as having “modern concrete docks.”

Other suggestions, such as WSBC having no jurisdiction due to the fact that the marina’s operations would make it fall under federal authority, didn’t fly for the review.

As well, the actual placement of ladders was argued to create risks for mooring ships, but the officer found that there can be design considerations that would alleviate that concern.

“My conclusion…is that there has been more focus on whether the Board [WSBC] has jurisdiction to deal with the issue of ladders at a marina than there has been about potentials solutions,” Scott writes.

Due to schedules the Sentinel couldn’t immediately reach the regional district’s administrator or the marina’s manager. The District of Kitimat’s representative to the regional district, Corinne Scott, was available and weighed in on the decisions.

She said that the arguments made against the WorkSafeBC ruling shouldn’t have been bothered with.

“The whole thing was it’s a safety issue,” said Corinne Scott. “Instead of arguing it should have been complied with, absolutely.”

She suggested that the safety of workers and users should have taken higher priority.

Board members will soon have more power to have a hand on decisions regarding the marina though. Scott said that on Friday evening the board would have been voting to adopt the terms of reference of a MK Bay Marina Function Committee.

The committee was reinstated on January 1 and includes representation from the District of Kitimat, the City of Terrace, and the Directors from Areas C and E, (Thornhill and Lakelse.) as well as marina managment.

She said the terms of reference once approved will give them the scope of their mandate. The committee will, she explains, be a liaison between the management of the marina and the regional district, and they’ll have a hand in how its managed.

“It would be that the management of the marina report through the function committee.”

She said that had the function committee been at its full strength already it could have changed whether or not an appeal had been sought through WorkSafeBC.

Another marina issue that was scheduled to come up last Friday was an issuance of a request for proposals for a service review of the marina. That review would include the service delivery, conditions of the facility and general operations.