WorkSafeBC has ordered the Township of Langley to pay more than half a million dollars in fines for roadwork safety infractions that reportedly occurred at three different sites in 2016.
According to inspection reports obtained by the Langley Times, WorkSafeBC says the Township was responsible for ensuring that proper traffic control — provided by a contractor — was in place at the three sites, but failed to do so.
In total, penalties of $514,991.60 were issued on May 14, 2018, and the Township has since requested a review.
When asked for comment, the Township of Langley instead issued a formal statement to the Times: “The Township of Langley is appealing the finding that it is responsible for the contractor’s supervision and provision of traffic control services at the job sites and therefore cannot comment further.”
The first alleged incident occurred on March 2, 2016, when crews were clearing a ditch on 56 Avenue near 252 Street. The westbound lane was closed to accommodate a backhoe and a dump truck, an inspection report says.
Inspector Gerald Schmidt said he witnessed “a lone traffic control person (TCP) conducting two lane to intermittent one-way traffic control,” when two traffic control people should have been in place. The work zone was not coned off in any direction either, he added.
“The TCPs only option was to be close to the equipment so both east and westbound vehicular traffic could somewhat discern the directions being provided. At times this placed the TCP in a ‘sandwich’ position between moving vehicular traffic and the maintenance equipment,” Schmidt wrote in the report.
He ordered the maintenance equipment and workers off of 56 Avenue, and the Township construction manager “assured” him that a second TCP would be dispatched, the report says.
A couple of months later, on May 26, 2016, Schmidt wrote a second report to the Township for work being performed on 56 Avenue east of 232 Street.
According to that report, the Township used untrained people to supervise and manage the traffic control, did not follow the “fundamental principles of traffic control” in its assessment of the roadways, did not ensure correct signage was put up prior to traffic control, and did not issue the traffic control plan to all workers who required it.
As a result, Schmidt ordered that the Township undertake a review of the B.C. Ministry of Highways Traffic Control Manual for Work on Roadways, and explain — in writing — which version of the Traffic Control Manual it will adhere to and how it will meet the expectations laid out in the manual, as well as prepare a Notice of Compliance Report.
On Aug. 24, the Township informed WorkSafeBC that a new traffic control contract was awarded to DL Safety Consulting to provide its “expert traffic control services including supervision,” the report says.
The third incident reportedly took place on June 20, 2016 while a new property entryway was being installed at 23059 Old Yale Rd. The westbound lane of Old Yale Road was closed.
According to an inspection report, Schmidt witnessed several infractions, including having only one TCP in place, having the TCP “inappropriately positioned” and having no taper zone in front of the lane closure. He also called the traffic control analysis form “erroneous” as it missed key safety factors.
Schmidt once again stopped the work, and was told by a representative of the owner that a second TCP would be added. When following up the next day, Schmidt said that a proper taper zone had been set up, and the correct number of TCPs were onsite.