Former auto shop owner fined over $27,000 for violations in worker's death


A former autobody shop owner has been ordered to pay more than $27,000 in penalties after pleading guilty to three workplace safety violations in connection with the death of a mechanic nearly seven years ago in Dartmouth, N.S.

During a hearing last September, Elie Hoyeck admitted to failing to ensure the safety of his workers, failing to ensure that the shop's equipment was safe and failing to have an emergency response plan in place for working with hazardous materials.

Mechanic Peter Kempton sustained fatal burns in September 2013 while using an acetylene torch to remove a gas tank from a minivan at Hoyeck's autobody shop, which has since closed.

In an oral decision delivered today, provincial court Judge Elizabeth Buckle noted the safety violations show Hoyeck had a ``reckless disregard or deliberate indifference'' to safety.

Buckle says the violations were serious, and the sentence should send a message to other employers about the importance of safety.

The judge ordered the penalty totalling $27,250 be made up of a fine of $15,000, a victim surcharge of $2,250, and a $10,000 donation to a safety education fund, while Hoyeck has also been ordered to co-operate with the Department of Labour in making a safety video.