Fines were issued to the Pitt Meadows berry farm. (THE NEWS/files)

WorkSafe fines Vancouver Canuck owners’ farm $53,690 after bus fails inspection

Farm vehicle was at risk of ‘brake failure:’ decision

A WorkSafeBC’s review decision has told the “Golden Eagle Farms” that it will have to pay a fine of $53,690 levied in October, following an inspection last summer of a bus used to carry workers.

The vehicle was checked at a farm in Pitt Meadows in August, by both a WorkSafe officer and Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement officer.

Golden Eagle Farm Group is part of the Aquilini Investment Group, which owns the Vancouver Canucks.

The officers found a leak in the compressor discharge line, a deteriorating front airbag and a loose rear battery. They determined the vehicle, “described as a bus,” was unsafe and ordered it removed from service, said a decision by WorkSafe’s review division.

“The deficiencies identified by the … inspection of the employer’s vehicle supports a finding that the employer was not maintaining the vehicle that transported its workers to a level where it could be operated in a safe manner,” review officer Seeley Brocklebank wrote in her decision upholding the fine.

She considered the violation to be high-risk because the vehicle was used to transport workers, adding there was a “reasonably high likelihood of an incident occurring … with the potential for brake failure.”

Golden Eagle contended that the violation was not of a high-risk nature and warranted a lower fine, Brocklebank noted in her decision.

Golden Eagle also said a third party inspects its vehicles annually to ensure they’re safe and that the vehicle had been checked six weeks before the August inspection and that the defects were not found, she noted.

Brocklebank disagreed with the company’s contention that the discharge line wasn’t broken, but was only loose, and cited a copy of the repairs made to the vehicle to back up her opinion.

She also pointed out that during the inspection, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Enforcement officer showed the WorkSafe officer the back of the vehicle. The WorkSafe officer described hearing “a very large rushing of air,” saying that the leak was significant. If there were no repairs, there could have been brake failure, said the WorkSafe officer.

Brocklebank said, as well, that vehicle inspections are required before every trip under Motor Vehicle Act Regulations.

And she noted that there was a previous, similar violation in August 2017, resulting in a warning letter.

The fine was issued to Golden Eagle Farms, Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini, and Paolo Aquilini, according to WorkSafe’s penalty summary webpage.

In May 2011, Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini and Elisa Aquilini, doing business as Geri Partnership – Golden Eagle Ranch, were fined a total of $125,402 for two previous WorkSafeBC violations in Pitt Meadows. 

An appeal in 2012 of those fines was unsuccessful, WorkSafe said in a 2012 e-mail.

Dula Badesha, production manager with Golden Eagle Farm Group, said via e-mail that the company strives continually to maintain a safe working environment and that doing so is a core value.

Drivers are also told that they can’t drive a vehicle if there is a mechanical problem, he said.

“Unfortunately, this particular driver did not follow our policy, and his supervisor was not made aware there was a mechanical problem until after the inspection,” Badesha said.

The company has reiterated that drivers must do pre-trip inspections before driving vehicles, Badesha said, adding that the company has taken other measures to ensure such an incident doesn’t happen again.



pmelnychuk@mapleridgenews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

UPDATE: First presumptive case of COVID-19 in Prince Rupert

Doctor says it was a visitor, Northern Health won’t confirm

Schools ramp up contact efforts with students

Efforts of school district employees called “extraordinary”

North District RCMP see massive spike in domestic calls

Connection to COVID-19 pandemic likely for reduced call volume, increased severity

Northwest mines lengthen crew rotations in response to COVID-19

Northern Health confident precautions sufficient enough to keep work camps open

Coastal GasLink gives $100K to United Way efforts in Northern B.C.

Organization’s COVID-19 Relief Fund benefits seniors in isolation, among others

COVID-19: 4 new deaths, 25 new cases but only in Vancouver Coastal, Fraser Health

A total of 1,291 people have tested positive for the novel coronavirus

COVID-19: Don’t get away for Easter weekend, Dr. Bonnie Henry warns

John Horgan, Adrian Dix call 130 faith leaders as holidays approach

COVID-19: Trudeau says 30K ventilators on the way; 3.6M Canadians claim benefits

Canada has seen more than 17,000 cases and at least 345 deaths due to COVID-19

RCMP call on kids to name latest foal recruits

The baby horses names are to start with the letter ‘S’

As Canadians return home amid pandemic, border crossings dip to just 5% of usual traffic

Non-commercial land crossing dipped by 95%, air travel dropped by 96 per cent, according to the CBSA

Logan Boulet Effect: Green Shirt Day calls on Canadians to become organ donors

While social distancing, the day also honours the 16 lives lost in the 2018 Humboldt Broncos Crash

COMMENTARY: Knowing where COVID-19 cases are does not protect you

Dr. Bonnie Henry explains why B.C. withholds community names

B.C. wide burning restrictions come into effect April 16

‘Larger open burns pose an unnecessary risk and could detract from wildfire detection’

Most Read