Two Merritt companies were handed penalties by WorkSafeBC last fall.

Former Merritt sawmill Ardew Wood Products and construction firm Sanders & Company incurred the penalties in September of 2014.

Ardew Wood Products was slapped with a $58,000 fine for an April 2012 incident that saw a young man’s arm caught in a conveyor while he was cleaning underneath it.

WorkSafeBC fined the firm more than a year later after an investigation into the incident, which found Ardew had committed a “repeated and high-risk violation” by not ensuring lockout procedures. Lockout procedures isolate a machine’s energy source, rendering it inoperable so employees can conduct maintenance work.

Lockout procedures are required by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation.

The man was working alone and had to stop the conveyor belt, call 911, and explain to first responders how to lock out the machine all while his arm was trapped in it.

There was no written procedure for checking on workers assigned to work alone.

Merritt construction company Sanders & Company was also fined nearly $40,000 in September 2014.

The $39,620 fine to Sanders & Company was the result of an August 2013 incident in which a worker was using an excavator to move logs on a steep slope.

A log lifted by the bucket made contact with high-voltage power lines overhead.

WorkSafeBC’s investigation found the firm allowed workers to use equipment in areas they could get too close to high-voltage electrical lines.

The company didn’t have clearly defined controls or procedures to prevent accidental contact with power lines.

WorkSafeBC would not comment on the status of either worker’s injury, citing privacy concerns.

The penalties are two of 59 handed out by the province’s Workers’ Compensation Board in August and September of last year.

Other penalties range from a $1,000 fine to Burnaby’s Dhaliwal Framing and Home Management for failing to comply with fall protection requirements to $75,000 in fines to the Interior Health Authority in Vernon for exposing hospital workers to formaldehyde and other toxic substances through an inadequate ventilation system.

They are listed in the January/February 2015 edition of WorkSafe magazine.