EXCLUSIVE: Multiple safety infractions found at lumber yard prior to death of 2 workers

January 28, 2016

By: Global News

Damning reports indicate WorkSafeBC found multiple infractions at a New Westminster lumber yard where two workers were killed last weekend.

The accident, which occurred at United Gateway Logistics on January 23, involved lumber falling from a forklift.

The two victims were 60 and 65 years old.

After the accident, investigators issued a stop work order in which they noted “several piles of lumber that were not plumb, level or maintained in stable condition.”

United Gateway Logistics has a long history of violations. WorkSafeBC inspectors prepared at least 18 reports on the company over the past two years.

Among the infractions:

– There was no first aid attendant on site
– Forklift drivers had no qualifications
– The company did not conduct regular safety inspections
– Workers did not wear high-visibility gear around forklifts

Several times, inspectors saw forklifts carrying elevated loads, prompting this warning from WorksafeBC:

“Driving with an elevated load decreases the stability of the forklift, increasing the probability of the load and forklift tipping over. This is an extremely unsafe practice…This can and has resulted in forklift tip-overs causing serious injury and death.”

While the company did take action to remedy some violations, WorksafeBC reported in December that “the employer did not ensure safe movement of workers and other people, equipment, and materials at this worksite.”

The company was warned it could face penalties for repeated violations, but United Gateway Logistics was never fined.

Company executives did not return calls from Global News.

By: Global News

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