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WorkSafe BC acts on mushroom farm coroner's inquest recommendations

Family members of the three workers killed and two permanently injured in the 2008 A1 Mushrooms Farms workplace accident stood outside the Surrey Provincial Court to voice their thoughts on the verdict last November. Owners of the farm received fines totaling $350,000 and no jail time.  - Miranda Gathercole/Langley Times file photo
Family members of the three workers killed and two permanently injured in the 2008 A1 Mushrooms Farms workplace accident stood outside the Surrey Provincial Court to voice their thoughts on the verdict last November. Owners of the farm received fines totaling $350,000 and no jail time.
— image credit: Miranda Gathercole/Langley Times file photo

WorkSafe BC is sending documents to 5,200 employers in the agriculture industry to educate them about high-risk activities and the hazards of working in closed spaces.

The documents are the direct result of a coroner’s recommendation that followed the inquest into the deaths of three workers on a mushroom farm in south Langley on Sept. 8, 2008.

A coroner’s inquest ruled that Ut Van Tran, 35, Han Duc Pham, 47, and 55-year-old Jimmy Chi Wai Chan died accidentally when they were overcome by toxic fumes coming from a pipe in a pump house at A-1 Mushroom Substratum Farm, 23751 16 Ave. Two other farm workers survived by suffered brain damage.

Four principals of the company pleaded guilty to 10 of 29 charges. They were fined $350,000.

WorkSafe said that the ability of the agency and the Farm and  Ranch Safety and Health Association (FARSHA) to educate employers and help them to comply with regulations “will be greatly enhanced.”

WorkSafe also plans to conduct regular inspections of high-risk agricultural operations, and hire more agricultural inspectors.

In a recent status report, WorkSafe said that the majority of inspections are unannounced, but random inspections, even in high-risk sectors “has not proven to be successful in reducing injury rates.”

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