HALIFAX—The former owner of a Halifax autobody shop is facing a charge of criminal negligence causing death in the case of a mechanic who died after the car he was working on suddenly caught fire as he was welding beneath it.
The RCMP says the charge is the first against a Nova Scotia employer under Bill C-45—also known as the Westray law—which was passed after 26 miners were killed when methane gas ignited in the Nova Scotia mine.
Police say 58-year-old Peter Kempton was working under a car in September 2013 when it caught fire quickly and became engulfed in flames.
He died the next day in hospital.
A police news release says 41-year-old Elie Phillip Hoyeck was the owner of Your Mechanic Auto Corner, and he is facing the federal charge along with 12 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The Labour Department alleges the shop didn’t provide flashback arrestors between the torch and the fuel supply to prevent reverse flow and stop a flame from burning back into the supply lines.
Bill C-45 was passed in March 2004, establishing new legal duties for workplace health and safety and imposing tougher penalties for violations that result in injuries or death.
Hoyeck is scheduled to appear in Dartmouth provincial court on Oct. 6.