Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Natural Resources Fined $10,000 Following Accident That Killed Two

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadian Natural Resources Fined $10,000 Following Accident That Killed Two

Article excerpt

Fatal oilsands accident results in $10,000 fine


CALGARY - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. has been fined $10,000 by Alberta's professional engineering society -- the maximum allowed -- following an investigation into an accident at an oilsands site that killed two and injured five.

The Association of Professional Engineers and Geoscientists of Alberta said Wednesday that it found the company engaged in unprofessional conduct by failing to make sure building plans were certified by an engineer and by contracting with a company without making sure it was competent to do the work.

The investigation looked into events on April 24, 2007, where workers were building a 20-metre high oil tank at the Horizon oilsands project north of Fort McMurray, Alta., when cables holding up a roof support structure snapped due to high winds.

The falling steel structure broke apart, with debris striking an electrical consultant, killing him. A scaffolder was crushed and died on the way to the hospital.

Two other workers were seriously injured and three others suffered minor injuries.

The engineering association found that the steel cables supporting the roofing structure were inadequate and did not meet regulations, and that the person who designed the construction procedures was not a professional engineer in Alberta.

"It was an extremely significant and unfortunate event," said APEGA registrar Carol Moen. "This particular event is likely to be probably the most significant one from an impact and outcome perspective that APEGA has engaged in, in our history."

Moen said the association levied the maximum amount allowable against the company. But, she added, work is underway to increase the maximum allowable fine for companies to $500,000 per violation as part of the first review of the provincial legislation that governs the engineering profession in about 30 years. …

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