N.L. government facing charges after excavator operator threatened surveyor

The Department of Transportation and Works is facing two charges in provincial court related to the criminal case of a heavy equipment operator threatening a surveyor.

The provincial department is accused under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure workers followed safety protocols, and of not providing work schedules or organizing tasks in a safe manner after an incident in St. Vincent’s on March 28, 2018.

Bernie Farrell, a heavy equipment operator from Farrell’s Excavating, was convicted of uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm for the same incident.

Farrell threatened a Department of Transportation and Works surveyor with the bucket of his excavator. He was given a 12-month suspended sentence, meaning no jail time, with the condition that he stay away from the surveyor.

Farrell’s Excavating is one of the busiest road construction companies in the province, located off the Trans-Canada Highway outside St. John’s. (Farrell’s Excavating/Facebook)

The 56-year-old Farrell is now also charged with one violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act for allegedly failing to ensure a worker was not in the swing radius of his bucket.

Representatives for Farrell and the Department of Transportation and Works are due in court  May 26 for a first appearance on the charges.

Farrell’s Excavating is one of the biggest road construction companies in the province, owned by William Farrell and located on the Trans-Canada Highway near the Conception Bay South exit.

Since the incident on March 28, 2018, Farrell’s has been awarded more than $11 million by the Department of Transportation and Works in tenders for road work.

Read more from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

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