SaskPower was found guilty on three charges under the Saskatchewan Employment Act, after the deaths of two workers in October of 2020. The verdict was delivered in Weyburn Provincial Court last Tuesday.  

Scott Bill and Cole Crooks, who both had 19 years of experience with the Crown Corporation, fell to their deaths while working on power lines on October 8th, 2020. The bucket they were working in tipped due to a failure involving a broken bolt, as well as tilting issues that had been previously identified.  

SaskPower was charged with failing to provide and maintain a safe working environment, as required by law, resulting in the deaths of the workers; failing to provide the necessary information, instruction, training, and supervision to protect the health and safety of the workers; and failing to ensure workers were using a personal fall arrest system while being elevated in a bucket truck.  

The Crown Corporation was found not guilty of a fourth charge of ensuring workers were trained to operate the bucket truck safely.  

The court had heard during the trial a bolt at the elbow of the boom that held the bucket was seen to be broken. Additionally, testimony was given in court that the particular bucket of the truck would tilt on occasion, and needed to be levelled by the hydraulic system. Work had been done to address the problem, but it did not alleviate the situation.  

Additionally, it was heard that while the two men were not clipped onto the bucket with their fall harnesses, no reminders were provided to the men regarding the clips by the ground crew at the scene. 

In the decision, the judge stated SaskPower did not prove beyond a balance of probabilities that they were not negligent in failing to check on the extent of the dangers posed by the tilting issue that had been previously reported by the truck, resulting in the guilty verdict on charge one.  

On the second charge of failing to provide proper supervision, the judge stated the supervisor on the scene did not ensure Bill and Crooks were properly anchored in to the bucket while working aloft and failed to remind the pair to clip in when the bucket was being elevated.  

The judge stated the court also did not find that SaskPower took all the reasonable steps to avoid having Bill and Crooks work in an elevated bucket without taking all necessary safety measures. 

No sentence was delivered in the verdict. That is expected in the coming weeks.