American Iron & Metal pleads guilty in workplace death

60-year-old Darrel Richards sustained fatal injuries while cutting into a calendar roll

American Iron & Metal pleads guilty in workplace death

American Iron & Metal (AIM) has pleaded guilty to charges related to the death of 60-year-old Darrel Richards. The incident occurred in June 2022 on AIM's port property, where Richards suffered fatal injuries while working.

AIM faced four charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, specifically for failing to ensure Richards' safety. Initially, AIM pleaded not guilty to all four charges, but during a pre-trial conference in Saint John, AIM admitted guilt to one charge, with the remaining three set to be dropped during sentencing.

Richards, a married father of three, succumbed to injuries sustained while cutting into a calendar roll at AIM's waterfront scrapyard. The roll decompressed, causing a severe laceration in his groin area, leading to substantial blood loss. The incident occurred on June 30, 2022, and Richards passed away in the hospital on July 1, 2022.

As CTV News Atlantic reports, family members and friends attended the emotional pre-trial conference, expressing their grief and describing Richards as a beacon of light in any room.

Maximum penalties for charges related to a workplace fatality in New Brunswick is a $250,000 fine, six months in jail, or both. The recommended sentencing includes an "alternative sentencing" proposal, suggesting the creation of a $107,000 bursary in Richards' name at the New Brunswick Community College. This bursary would focus on workplace safety, aiming to prevent similar tragedies in the future. The proposal is part of a 30-day probation order.

AIM's vice president for the Atlantic region, Michael Cormier, was present at the hearing but refrained from commenting on the matter.

In addition to the charges related to Richards' death, AIM pleaded guilty to an unrelated Occupational Health and Safety Act charge involving a truck fire in Maces Bay, N.B., on December 3, 2021. Thankfully, no injuries were reported in that incident.

This breaking news highlights the importance of prioritizing workplace safety and the consequences companies face for failing to uphold proper precautions and training procedures.