A business owner has been fined for numerous safety violations in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was buried in burning asphalt.
Gerald Shepell, owner of Interlake Paving in Manitoba, Canada, will have to pay off the $33,500 fine at $500 a month. His defense attorney had argued that if the fine was more than $30,000, Shepell would be forced out of business. The maximum penalty allowed by law was $180,000.
Shepell admitted to breaching workplace safety laws.
Andrew James died almost instantly when he became trapped under asphalt that spilled from a truck in July 2008.
James lost his footing while shoveling asphalt into a backhoe scoop.
Several co-workers, including Shepell, tried to save the teen. Shepell has scars on his hands and arms from reaching into the 570°F asphalt.
Manitoba Provincial law requires all construction employees to be at least 16 unless a special permit has been granted. Shepell admits James began working for him when he was just 14. James’ family had given permission for Shepell to employ their son, who had been skipping school.
The family also said they hold no ill will toward Shepell for what happened and would help pay his fines if he were convicted.