New Brunswick MP Asks Provincial Government to Suspend AIM’s Operating License – New Brunswick |

Following two deaths at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) facility in Saint John, Liberal MP Wayne Long has called on the province to suspend the company’s operating license.

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On Twitter, Long tweeted: “Enough is enough. After 2 fatalities in the last seven months, it is time for AIM to end operations in Saint John.”

“Around the world, American Iron and Metal is home to more than 90 sites and Saint John continues to be one of the most unsafe for workers and with the greatest impact on the community. It is time for the province to suspend its operating license until there is a plan to keep (people) safe,” a subsequent tweet said.

In an interview, Long reiterated his concerns, which existed long before the deaths of two workers at the AIM facility.

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“For me that’s a straw that breaks the camel’s back,” he said. “I am not satisfied that the workers are safe there. I am not satisfied that the community is safe.”

In his opinion, it is up to the provincial government to suspend the license until AIM subjects the facility to strict controls and security protocols.

“Never mind, there were two workplace fatalities there in seven months. It’s unacceptable,” Long said in an interview Thursday.

“So until AIM can show they are in control of the situation, I want the province to withdraw their operating permit. Final point.

The two workers, one of whom has been identified as 60-year-old Darrell Richards, were involved in separate workplace accidents.

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On November 24, a worker, who has not been identified, was driving a truck delivering materials to the facility when he was struck by an attachment on the end of an excavator boom.

Richards, killed on July 1, suffered serious injuries in a pressure roller-related incident and later died in hospital.

“This is an active investigation (just like the November incident) and we are still trying to determine the root cause,” said Laragh Dooley, spokesperson for WorkSafe NB.

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According to the oversight body, these types of investigations can take up to 12 months to complete.

“These two employees did not return home to their loved ones at the end of their work days; we are committed to finding out why. Our deepest condolences remain with their families, friends and co-workers.”

Who can suspend?

However, suspending the operating license may not be that simple.

American Iron and Metal is on federal property and has a 40-year lease with the Port of Saint John. Long said the federal government does not deal directly with AIM, but only acts as an owner.

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The province is responsible for issuing and maintaining the recycling plant’s operating license, and is therefore the only governing body that can suspend its operating license. Renewals are usually done every six months.

“Immediate abandonment is provincial,” Long said. “That’s not passing the ball, that’s just what happens.”

provincial response

In an email response, Minister for Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labor Trevor Holder said the two deaths “deeply concern him.”

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“At the end of last week, upon learning of the incident at the AIM facility, I reached out to WorkSafeNB for an update and to express these concerns,” he said in his statement.

“I have been assured that all steps are being taken to ensure a thorough investigation is carried out and that they will issue appropriate warrants or recommend charges to the Crown, based on their findings.”

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It said in the statement that its priority is to ensure healthy and safe work environments, but the department did not commit to deciding whether the province would suspend AIM’s license.

Instead, PETL clarified that operating licenses are not issued or suspended based on workplace safety issues or concerns, but rather environmental requirements.

“It is also important to note that the Approval to Operate issued to AIM is related to environmental requirements only,” the department said in a statement. “Those would not be a factor in a workplace incident of this nature.”

Is not a new problem

The company had its operating license suspended in 2018 after several explosions rocked the city’s west end. The facility was later given permission to resume operations.

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According to Long, the explosions keep happening and he gets calls from his constituents telling him so.

Former Saint John Mayor Don Darling was leading the city council when the facility made headlines for its explosions, failure to meet air quality requirements and fires.

In 2020, Darling proposed billing the facility for fire protection services following a major fire there.

“To be honest, I’m sad that we’re having this conversation today,” he said in an interview Thursday. “Anyone trying to normalize going to work in the morning and not coming home at night, we’ve been lost.”

He said he believes the community is frustrated with the company, citing positive working relationships with several other industry players.

“We’re not seeing other heavy industry players here having two deaths on their site in a matter of months,” he said.

Most importantly, Darling said the company has a responsibility to meet the most stringent security and operational requirements.

“I think for Darrell and the other worker who was killed, who I don’t know, we owe it to them and their families to have these difficult conversations and find a way for the facility to co-exist,” he said. he said she.

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“If they can’t meet their obligations, which should be strict, environmentally, operationally, from a security perspective and from a community coexistence perspective, they shouldn’t be there.”

American Iron and Metal did not respond to requests for comment.

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