Alberta hands out record OHS fines in 2007

Courts send a message while safety organizations benefits, says province as 12 companies are fined a total of $1.72 million

Fines handed out for contraventions of Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act reached a new record in 2007, according to the provincial government.

Twelve companies were fined a total of $1.72 million in penalties, surpassing the 2006 tally of $1.53 million. The province said this reflects a “growing intolerance of unsafe workplace practices.”

About $780,000 of the total was ordered by the courts to be paid to health and safety organizations as part of creative sentencing orders. Recipients of these funds included STARS Air Ambulance, Foothills Hospital Burn Unit, Canadian Home Builders’ Association, Threads of Life, Canadian National Institute for the Blind, Manufacturers’ Health and Safety Association and St. John Ambulance.

“I’m pleased the courts continue to send strong, clear messages that workplace health and safety must be taken seriously,” said Iris Evans, Alberta’s Minister of Employment, Immigration and Industry. “Government, industry and labour must also continue to send their own clear messages that workplace health and safety is a priority and that senseless, preventable incidents simply won’t be tolerated.”

Top fine $350,000 in 2007

In April 2004, a 25-year-old New Concept Contracting employee was run over by an unattended backhoe in High River. In September 2003, a 34-year-old welder with D.J.Z’s Welding was killed in Edmonton when a methane explosion threw him against the wall of a tank. Both companies topped the list of penalties for 2007, each receiving penalties of $350,000.

The Manufacturers’ Health and Safety Association was awarded $195,000 resulting from a 2003 incident at Westcon Precast in Calgary, and STARS Air Ambulance was awarded a total of $190,000 resulting from two incidents near Hinton and Edson in 2003.

Maximum penalties

The maximum penalty for a first offence under the OHS Act is $500,000 and/or six months in prison for each charge. For more information on workplace health and safety in Alberta call (866) 415-8690 toll-free, (780) 415-8690 in Edmonton or visit

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