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Coroner's inquest ordered for death at AIM in 2022


A coroner’s inquest into the death of a man at the American Iron and Metal (AIM) facility in Saint John, N.B., in 2022 will be held next month.

Darrell Richards, 60, suffered a laceration in his groin area that severed his femoral artery while working at the AIM site at the Port of Saint John and later died on July 1, 2022.

Last February, AIM pleaded guilty to a charge in connection to the death under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. As part of the sentence, AIM was ordered to create a $107,000 scholarship at the New Brunswick Community College.

At the coroner’s inquest, deputy chief coroner Michael Johnston and a jury will hear from witnesses to determine the facts regarding Richards’ death. The jury will also be able to make recommendations to potentially prevent future deaths under similar circumstances.

Last year, the New Brunswick government revoked AIM's salvage dealer's licence for its Saint John scrapyard after a massive fire there in September.

The fire, which grew to the size of three football fields, prompted officials to warn residents across the city to stay indoors and close their windows as an acrid smell wafted over the community.

There was also another workplace death in November 2021.

In that incident, a worker died from injuries sustained at the same location.

According to AIM president Herbert Black, who spoke at a press conference in July 2022, the November 2021 death occurred when a truck driver tried to exit the vehicle on its right side because the driver’s side door was jammed. Black said a crane operator was sweeping the truck of materials at the same time.

During the press conference, Black said he couldn’t see what his facility could have done to prevent that death.

When asked who was responsible for safety at the Saint John facility, Black said, “You have to make a connection with the Lord and ask him. He decides. I’m not God.”

The inquest is scheduled to run from June 3 to 7 in Saint John.

-With files from CTV Atlantic’s Avery MacRae and The Canadian Press

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