NEWS

WorkSafeBC finds series of violations on blueberry farm

08/23/2012 08:59 EDT | Updated 10/23/2012 05:12 EDT
WorksafeBC has found several alleged safety violations on a Pitt Meadows, B.C., blueberry farm where a worker was injured earlier this month, CBC News has learned.

Purewal Blueberry Farms, reputed to be North America's largest blueberry operation, admitted it failed to report an incident in April in which worker Gurdev Khakh suffered a mangled leg and dislocated shoulder after herbicide tank fell on him and doused him with chemicals.

Khakh, 68, who said he came forward to tell CBC News his story after farm officials failed to report the accident to WorksafeBC, also claimed that an ambulance wasn't called until two hours after the incident.

The day after the CBC News story aired, WorksafeBC investigators visited the farm for two consecutive days of inspections.

The inspectors found 18 alleged violations, including:

- Failing to notify and investigate a workplace accident.

- Disturbing an accident scene.

- Improper protection from pesticides.

- Improper first aid procedures.

Khakh later said Purewal Blueberry Farms paid him $5,000 after the story became public.

Khakh said he’s glad he spoke up.

"If there is another incident tomorrow, when I'm not here, other workers will know that I fought back and benefitted," Khakh said through a Punjabi translator.

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