Backhoe operator guilty of workplace violation in fatal explosion

NIPAWIN, Sask. — A Saskatchewan judge has convicted a backhoe operator of workplace violations in an explosion at a butcher shop that killed two people.

Lorry Riemer is to be sentenced at a later date on two counts under the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Riemer was demolishing some buildings in downtown Nipawin in 2008 when he snagged a natural gas riser with his equipment, causing gas to seep into the shop.

Two men working for Riemer were killed and several others were seriously injured in the blast.

Provincial court Judge Barry Morgan ruled Riemer was the person with the greatest amount of control over the demolition operation.

SaskEnergy was originally charged with workplace offences, but the Justice Department stayed those charges.