Smith Group Holdings Ltd. and subsidiary Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. were jointly charged with 15 counts under occupational health and safety (OHS) laws. On March 6 in the Brooks Court of Justice, Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. pleaded guilty to one charge under the OHS Act for failing to ensure the health and safety of a worker. The other charges against Brooks Asphalt & Aggregate Ltd. and all charges against Smith Group Holdings Ltd. were withdrawn.

The charges stem from an incident on a road construction site in the County of Newell on July 23, 2021. A worker was asphyxiated while cleaning out a gravel bin with a running conveyor.

The company will pay $295,000 in total penalties, including a $1,000 fine. Under a creative sentence, $244,000 will be provided to the Alberta Construction Safety Association to develop a three-dimensional incident re-creation video, a series of learning videos, a toolbox talk resource guide and a safety session open to all industries. The remaining $50,000 will be provided to the Brooks Fire Department to purchase new rescue equipment.

The OHS Act provides a creative sentence option in which funds that would otherwise be paid as fines are directed to an organization or project, to improve or promote workplace health and safety.

Both the company and the Crown have up to 30 days to appeal the conviction or penalty.

Alberta’s OHS laws set basic health and safety rules for the province’s workplaces. They provide guidance for employers to help them ensure their workplaces are as healthy and safe as possible while providing rights and protections for workers. Charges under OHS laws may be laid when failing to follow the rules results in a workplace fatality or serious injury.

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