Canadian Natural charged in deaths of workers

Tue Apr 21, 2009 8:55pm EDT
 
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CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - Canadian Natural Resources Ltd and two other firms face 53 charges in the deaths of two workers at the company's oil sands project in Alberta in 2007, the province said on Tuesday.

Two temporary workers from China were killed and five others were injured when the roof of an oil tank they were constructing collapsed on them at the Horizon project site, north of Fort McMurray, Alberta.

Canadian Natural, which is the country's No. 2 independent oil explorer, Sinopec Shanghai Engineering Co Ltd and SSEC Canada Ltd face charges for failing to ensure the health and safety of the workers.

Canadian Natural said in a statement it had cooperated fully with the investigation, and that it would make no further comment until the matter had been resolved.

Among the other counts are failing to ensure that a professional engineer prepared and certified drawings and procedures and failing to ensure the roof support structure was stable during assembly.

The companies are due for their first court appearance June 8 in Fort McMurray, the government said.

The maximum penalty for each charge is C$500,000.

(Reporting by Jeffrey Jones; Editing by Christian Wiessner, Richard Chang)