Agrium Inc. agreed to pay the maximum fine and pleaded guilty Monday to violating the province’s Occupational Health and Safety regulations in connection with the death of an electrician at the Vanscoy potash mine in 2010.
Edward Artic, 59, died May 11, 2010, after being struck in the head by part of a load being lifted in the facility’s above-ground mill.
Agrium pleaded guilty in Saskatoon provincial court to failing to maintain a working environment that ensured the health and safety of Artic. It was fined $300,000 plus a victim surcharge of $120,000, for a total of $420,000.
“We wish we could take back what happened that day,” said Mike Dirham, general manager of Agrium’s Vanscoy potash operation, in court.
About 24 members of the Saskatchewan Potash Council, which has members from unions at all potash mines in the province, were also in court Monday.
“We’re pleased they decided to put an end to it,” said Darrin Kruger, president of United Steelworkers Local 7552, the union to which Artic belonged.
Agrium lawyer Michael Tochor outlined in court a number of measures Agrium took following the incident. He said Agrium has spent $3.6 million on renovations and safety policy development. Agrium also created an on-site memorial that cost $37,000 in honour of Artic, Tochor said.
Agrium initially faced four charges in relation to the fatality. The remaining three charges were stayed.