OHS Charges Against Utility ‘Stayed’ in Fatal Explosion

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Nearly three years ago, a natural gas explosion killed two people after a track hoe struck a gas line riser. As a result, the utility and the track hoe operator were charged with OHS violations. But the Ministry of Justice just “stayed,” that is, suspended, the charges against the utility because there was “no reasonable likelihood of conviction.” The Crown prosecutor said that there was no standard best practice for physically guarding natural gas risers and they couldn’t prove that the utility failed to exercise due diligence. However, the Crown is continuing its case against the self-employed track hoe operator. And the charges against the utility could be brought back within a year [SaskEnergy, Govt. News Release, Feb. 9, 2011].