Aquilinis fined by WorkSafeBC

Penalties total $125,000 for two incidents in Pitt Meadows

The largest berry grower in Pitt Meadows has been fined by WorkSafeBC following a workplace accident last year.

Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini and Elisa Aquilini, doing business as Geri Partnership – Golden Eagle Ranch, were fined a total of $125,402 on May 11 for two incidents in Pitt Meadows.

The first fine of $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 jobsite at 16351 Aquilini Ave., in north Pitt Meadows, following a WorkSafe inspection in August 2010.

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

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 says in its magazine.

The penalties were announced in WorkSafe’s September-October magazine.

“The firm also failed to provide its workers with the information, instruction, training and supervision necessary to ensure their safety,” the magazine 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.”

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 had no previous violations with WorkSafeBC.

Geri Partnership is part of the Aquilini Investment Group, which owns the Vancouver Canucks and is run by Francesco Aquilini, Roberto Aquilini and Paolo Aquilini.

Members of the Aquilini family – Francesco, Elisa, and Roberto, and Paolo – along with related companies, still face Fisheries Act and Water Act charges in Port Coquitlam provincial court in connection with the installation of a water intake pipe into the North Alouette River in 2009.

A trial date has been set for Oct. 15, 2012.

Two other Maple Ridge companies were also fined in April by WorkSafeBC.

Pennyfarthing Construction Co. got a penalty of $4,614 for not ensuring that handrails and guardrails were installed at a construction site on which it was the general contractor.

“Workers were also exposed to hazards from waste that had been allowed to accumulate throughout the jobsite.”

Mohinder Kaur Lalli was also fined $2,500 in April for allowing workers to begin renovating a building before identifying if there were any hazardous materials, such as asbestos, at the worksite.

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