Recycling Product News
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News | Headlines
June 18, 2012 - (from the Times Colonist, May 7, 2012)
Employees with Steel Pacific recycling plant have been talking to grief counsellors since May, as they grapple with the death of one of their colleagues.
Operations at the plant have been suspended since Saturday May 5 when a 35-year-old man died in an accident while operating a system of conveyor belts used to separate leftover material from recycled vehicles.
The man, originally from Nanaimo, has been with the company for three years. His name was not released (at the time of this article) because police had still not notified his family members out of province.
About six employees were working when the man died on Saturday afternoon but all 25 employees of the Victoria facility will be given the option of grief counselling, said Caroll Taiji, a spokeswoman for the company.
“It’s a small unit, it’s a close-knit company — the kind of culture where this has a very big impact on people,” she said. “The very big focus is getting everyone together, looking everyone in the eye and making sure they’re OK.”
WorkSafe B.C. and the B.C. Coroner Service have also been investigating the incident. There have been few details about how the man died or if any workers were nearby and witnessed the death.
“Everyone looks out for each other, so this is going to be very hard for people because they have a sense of mutual responsibility for each other’s safety,” Taiji said. The company’s four worksites on Vancouver Island — in Campbell River, Duncan, Cassidy and Victoria — will review their safety procedures in the hope of preventing any other incidents.
“When operations resume, everyone’s got to have a heightened diligence as this is obviously a disconcerting event for everyone,” Taiji said.
Managers at Steel Pacific Recycling say the man did not fall into a shredder as originally reported by Victoria police. The shredder on site has been out of use for about a year, said Jamie Wilson, the company’s international director of operations, who flew in from Portland Sunday.
“Most people should never have to experience this in their work or at any time in their lives,” Wilson said in May from the yard at 307 David St. “It’s very challenging. It’s not easy to deal with something like this.”
The man worked for the company for three years and the accident was the first one at the site in more than 450 days. His co-workers were shocked as they stood near the property two hours after the incident.
“He was well liked, well trained, well respected,” said Wilson. “He seemed to enjoy his job. He’s a good colleague and he will be greatly missed.”
Steel Pacific Recycling is tucked away in the corner of a Victoria industrial park. Past the front gate, the main driveway leads around a mound of dirt several metres high. Beyond that mound, WorkSafe B.C. investigators were analyzing the separation equipment on the day after the incident. They told the company not to publicly reveal details about the incident, which took place just one week after workers provincewide had paid respects to those who died over the last year on job sites in B.C.
A total of 142 workplace fatalities and 103,798 injury claims were accepted by WorkSafe B.C. in 2012. On average, 2.7 workers die in a week, more than 2,700 workers are injured and 17 people are permanently disabled. Read more:
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