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

Just Posted

Parksville Beach Festival Society launches campaign for outdoor stage

Public invited to event May 25 to help with kickoff

Crime Report: Oceanside RCMP receive 328 complaints in one-week span

Vandalism and theft of a wheelchair among listed incidents

Controversial cell tower proposal in Coombs clears another hurdle

Committee indicates Rogers satisfactorily completed requirements

Parksville advocate to discuss harm-reduction measures for addicts

Morris, along with a panel of professionals, will be at the PCC on May 21

Oceanside RCMP member rides for childhood cancer research in Tour de Rock

Tim Kenning will cycle 1,000 kilometres in 22nd annual event

UPDATE: B.C. pilot killed in Honduras plane crash

The crash happened in the Roatan Islands area, according to officials

B.C. ferry stops to let black bear swim past near Nanaimo

Queen of Oak Bay brakes for wildlife in Nanaimo’s Departure Bay

RCMP arrest violent offender on Vancouver Island

Campbell River police struggle with suspect and take him down with a taser

Raptors beat Bucks 118-112 in 2OT thriller

Leonard has 36 points as Toronto cuts Milwaukee’s series lead to 2-1

Two cats die in house fire in Nanaimo

Fire happened just after 2 p.m. Sunday on Fifth Street, one resident displaced

RDN looking into providing bus service 365 days a year

RDN transit committee to consider adding bus service on Christmas, New Year’s and Good Friday

One year after heartbreaking B.C. search, wife reflects on late husband

First anniversary of Ben Kilmer’s disappearance, and a search that galvanized Vancouver Island

‘Teams that win are tight’: B.C. Lions search for chemistry at training camp

The Lions added more than 50 new faces over the off-season, from coaching staff to key players

Rescue crews suspend search for Okanagan kayaker missing for three days

71-year-old Zygmunt Janiewicz was reported missing Friday

Most Read