On Friday, Brayford Trucking pleaded guilty to two charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including failing to properly train Gahan, and failing to keep him safe as their employee. An additional three charges were withdrawn. The prosecution and defence made a joint sentencing submission, proposing to fine Brayford Trucking $100,000, followed by corporate probation for two years. Provincial court judge Harry Van Harten accepted the joint submission Friday afternoon, saying the penalty is reasonable given the circumstances. The company would also have to write a “public acknowledgment” of what happened, measures taken after the offence and lessons learned. Court heard Gahan was running the excavator on top of ice, when the ice suddenly broke and the excavator went under four metres of water. Despite efforts by Gahan’s coworkers to rescue him from the icy water, and performing first aid–he was pronounced dead after being airlifted to hospital in Fort McMurray. According to an agreed statement of facts read in court, there was testing done in the pit prior to the incident, and the foreman for Brayford Trucking believed there was no water, and that the ice was simply covering the floor of the pit. Court heard Gahan was not trained to operate the excavator on ice. “We’re so very, very sorry,” Brayford said, looking at the victim’s family as she addressed the court. But she was interrupted by an angry outburst by the victim’s father who said, “I apologize to the court but it’s just too much.” Paul Gahan told court the owners of the company “don’t care about lives, they just care about the money.” A memorial tribute including six framed photos of the victim was set up in the courtroom.
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