NEWS

Injured B.C. farmworker says his accident went unreported

08/03/2012 01:17 EDT | Updated 10/02/2012 05:12 EDT
One of North America's largest blueberry farms is being accused of failing to report a serious injury.

An elderly Indo-Canadian farmworker said his knee was mangled and he ingested pesticides in an accident at the Purewal Blueberry Farms Ltd. blueberry field in Pitt Meadows.

Gurdev Khakh, 68, said he was hit by a pesticide trailer that tipped over onto him in April.

Speaking in Punjabi, Khakh told CBC News that the trailer tipped over onto to him as he was walking beside it.

He said he shouted for help: "I'm dying, I'm dying."

Khakh's leg was twisted back, his knee was dislocated, and his shoulder was crushed. He said that as the pesticides spilled onto him, he unintentionally ingested them.

"Who knows how dangerous it was. It made my stomach queasy," he said.

Khahk said he was taken by a supervisor to the security office, but an ambulance wasn't called for two hours. Khahk also said his employer failed to report the accident to WorkSafeBC, as required by law.

Khakh spent a month in hospital and now uses a walker to get around. He has now filed a claim for compensation.

Charan Gill, founding president of the Progressive Intercultural Community Services Society, said his organization is helping Khakh with the claim.

"Hopefully, WorkSafe will investigate and get at the truth. I think its a true story about a worker who is suffering, who is so dependent he has no money and is still living at their cabins."

After being contacted by CBC, Gary Purewal said the farm didn't see a need to report the accident to WorkSafeBC.

He said that Khakh has been collecting his full pay, plus an extra $5,000 while recovering from his injuries.

Khakh told CBC News that he has been getting nothing.

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