Explosion at Eastway Tank Results in Criticism for $850,000 Fine

Ottawa, Ontario – Some are expressing disappointment over the penalties handed down on Friday in the case of Eastway Tank, Pump and Meter, where six workers lost their lives in an explosion two years ago. Justice Mitch Hoffman accepted a joint submission recommending fines totaling $850,000 for the company and its owner, Neil Greene, causing mixed reactions among observers.

Sean McKenny, the president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council, shared his concerns regarding the outcome, stating that the penalty may not sufficiently reflect the gravity of the incident. On January 13, 2022, six employees tragically died in the explosion at the Eastway facility, leading to the enforcement of charges against the company and Greene under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Eastway and Greene pleaded guilty to specific charges related to safety violations in handling diesel fuel, resulting in the devastating explosion. Despite the guilty pleas, some of the original charges were not covered in the joint submission. The fines of $600,000 for Eastway and $80,000 for Greene, along with victim surcharge fees totaling $850,000, were imposed as part of the penalties for the violations.

The penalties meted out in this case marked the highest fine ever imposed on a company of Eastway’s size in Ontario’s history. While some have expressed satisfaction with the outcome, others, such as criminology professor Steven Bittle, argue that the penalties seem inadequate considering the severity of the explosion and loss of life.

The court took into account various factors when determining the penalties, including Greene’s remorse, lack of prior convictions for the company, and the impact on the victims’ families and employees. Despite the expressions of support for Greene from former colleagues and community members, the overall sentiment remains divided on whether the penalties truly reflect the magnitude of the tragedy.

Moving forward, there are calls for improved workplace safety measures and stricter enforcement to prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future. The case of Eastway Tank, Pump and Meter serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of upholding safety standards to protect workers and prevent avoidable accidents in the workplace.