Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Einwechter fined $70,00 in worker death

Einwechter Ltd. has been fined $70,000 in the death of a 30-year veteran employee who suffocated in a bin of soybeans in March, 2014.

President Jim Einwechter entered a guilty plea in Kitchener court this week and expressed remorse for the death.

Justice Gary Hearn noted that the company has workplace safety policies and procedures, but they were not followed after Gary Rush, who was in charge of the grain elevator near New Dundee, climbed in to fix a jam.

The augur was shut down and he told employees to turn it back on in about 10 minutes. They did, but an hour later noticed that Hearn was missing.

It took from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. and help from emergency crews to find him, his leg caught in the augur and dead from asphyxiation.

Einwechter’s lawyer said he is “extremely remorseful”.

Justice Hearn said the victim impact statements from Rush’s wife and two children, who were in court, “are extremely thoughtful and compelling.”

At the family’s request, their victim impact statements were not read out in court. Hearn said “I appreciate (that) your loss is great.”

Prosecutor Dale Ives said there is nothing in this situation to suggest that the company, which employs nine people, was wilfully negligent.

The company was set up in 1937 to haul livestock and grain. The Einwechters’ extended family includes the founder of Challenger Freight, one of the largest trucking companies in the province.