Hearing date set for Steelworkers private prosecution of Weyerhaeuser for
millworker's death

BURNABY, BC, April 23 /CNW/ - A process hearing has been set in the United Steelworkers' private prosecution of Weyerhaeuser Company Ltd. in connection with the death of millworker Lyle Hewer.

Criminal Lawyer Glen Orris, representing United Steelworkers, says that the hearing will be held on October 26, 2010. At that time a provincial court judge will determine whether a trial can proceed in the USW's private action case against Weyerhaeuser under the so-called Westray amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada.

"This is significant because the process is moving ahead as we hoped," said Steelworkers USW Western Canada Director Stephen Hunt.

Hewer was 55 when he died in November as he was clearing out a wood waste hog under Weyerhaeuser's direction. In March 2007, WorkSafeBC handed down the largest fine in its history in connection with Hewer's death, assessing Weyerhaeuser $297,000.

When the fine was handed down, WorkSafeBC said that mill management ignored safety concerns and condoned a culture where "complacency in the face of danger became the norm." Following the fatality, the hog was repaired at a cost of $30,000.

However, in spite of recommendations from New Westminster police and WorkSafe BC, the Crown chose not to proceed with criminal charges under the Westray amendments, which make companies liable to charges of criminal negligence in connection with workplace deaths.

SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)

For further information: For further information: on the USW's private pursuit of legal action contact: Stephen Hunt (604) 816-2554 or (604) 683-1117; For information on legal proceedings contact: Glen Orris, (604) 669-6711

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