North Vancouver’s Neptune Bulk Terminals is facing a host of charges stemming from the death of a worker.
In October 2018, longshoreman Donald Jantz was cleaning the terminal’s stacker reclaimer when he fell. He was rushed to hospital but died of his injuries.
Because the terminal is under federal jurisdiction, the workplace accident was investigated by Employment and Social Development Canada, which recommended several charges under the Canada Labour Code.
On Sept. 9, the federal Crown swore 10 charges against Neptune in North Vancouver provincial court.
The charges include two counts of failing to ensure employee health/safety is protected, two counts of failing to ensure machinery meets safety standards, two counts of failing to respond to reports made by employees and four counts of failing to identify/assess hazards in the workplace.
“The Crown is alleging that a number of work safety infractions resulted in Mr. Jantz’s death,” said federal Crown prosecutor Charles Hough.
Hough is proceeding via indictment, which means the maximum penalty is $1-million fine per count, if the company is found guilty.
Jantz was a member of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union local 500.
Cliff Wellicome, ILWU local 500 third vice-president, said there was relief knowing that charges had been sworn.
“We’re glad to see this. It’s about time. We’ve had so many fatalities on the waterfront,” he said. “It’s good to see that finally the federal system of the site safety committee worked the way it was intended to work from Ottawa.”
Jantz, 53, was remembered by friends and colleagues for his warm personality, his love for his son and his motorcycle.
“Don was one of those guys. He’s definitely missed right now. He touched everybody and he had a keen eye on safety. He helped everybody,” Wellicome said “It couldn’t’ have happened to a nicer guy, unfortunately.”
In a statement, Neptune’s acting president Duana Kipling said she could not comment on anything before the courts.
“What we can say is that all of us at Neptune have been devastated by the loss of Mr. Jantz since this tragic workplace accident occurred nearly two years ago, and many of us continue to be affected by it. Our thoughts have always been – and are to this day – with his family and friends, including his ILWU and Neptune co-workers,” the statement read. “We have co-operated with investigators to ensure all information is provided to them in a timely and transparent way. In addition, we have made the improvements necessary to ensure such a tragedy never occurs at Neptune again.”
Neptune’s next court date is in October.