Aquilini fines upheld

$125,000 levied by WorkSafeBC, company plans to appeal

  • Jan. 20, 2012 8:00 a.m.

An Aquilini appeal of WorkSafeBC fines levied last year has been rejected.

The three Aquilinis – Francesco, Roberto and Elisa, doing business as Geri Partnership – Golden Eagle Ranch, were fined $125,402 last spring for two incidents on their Pitt Meadows berry operations. They appealed that fine, but were rejected earlier this year, WorkSafeBC said Monday.

“The two penalties issued to Francesco Aquilini, et al, in 2011 have been upheld by WorkSafeBC’s Review Division with no variation in the penalty amounts,” WorkSafeBC said in an e-mail.

The first fine, levied May 11, 2011, for $62,701 was for failing to keep farm vehicles in “safe operating condition,” and for failing to ensure a driver was properly licensed at its job site at 16351 Aquilini Ave., in north Pitt Meadows, following a WorkSafe inspection in August 2010.

Also on May 11, 2011 the Aquilinis were fined $62,701 for not providing an effective means of communication between first-aid attendants and workers at 14318 Neaves Road.

That followed an inspection in September 2010 and an accident in which a worker suffered a serious leg injury when moving a metal wall unit. The worker had to wait a long time for the first-aid attendant, WorkSafeBC said.

The inspection report said the employer failed to take sufficient precautions to prevent injuries, didn’t maintain safe working conditions or “exercise due diligence to prevent these circumstances.”

However, John Negrin, with Aquilini Renewable Energy, said the company didn’t see the review board decision as a rejection, but another step in the process and planned on continuing to the Workers Compensation Appeal Tribunal stage.

Negrin said the company has a system in place to review procedures and have addressed the issues. “Right now, the file is still open. The case is still in process so we’re just working our way through it.”

The Aquilinis have a month to file an appeal, while a decision usually is made within six months.

The amount of the fines are determined by the size of the company’s payroll, the nature of the violation and previous violations, if any.

The Aquilinis, who also own the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks, had no previous violations with WorkSafeBC.

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