Wade Izzard’s leg was crushed by a forklift at an Edmonton warehouse on January 18, 2016, and later had to be amputated. Champion Pet Foods pleaded guilty to a count under the Occupational Health and Safety Act on May 30, 2019, for its role in the accident.
Wade Izzard remembers thinking he had just minutes to live.Izzard, who was working as a materials handler at an Edmonton warehouse, was crushed between two forklifts on Jan. 18, 2016. He made a tourniquet out of a piece of clothing to stop the torrent of blood pouring from his leg and waited for the ambulance to arrive.“I sent a text message to (my fiancée): basically, ‘This could be it,’” he said Thursday. “I said goodbye, that kind of thing. I said the Lord’s Prayer and that was it.”Doctors later had to amputate much of his left leg, including his knee.On Thursday, a company pleaded guilty to a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for its role in the accident.Champion Pet Foods, a dog and cat food manufacturer, admitted to a single count of failure to assess a work site for hazards in Edmonton provincial court. It will pay a $1,000 fine and an additional $85,000 to two Edmonton institutions specializing in rehabilitation.According to an agreed statement of facts filed with the court, Izzard worked for Kelly Services, a staffing agency contracted by Champion. Izzard worked in Champion’s labelling department at a warehouse owned by MTE Logistix Management, 17374 116 Avenue.The agreed facts state Champion was never informed of any complaints about Izzard’s adherence to safety rules.Izzard was speaking to a parked forklift driver employed by MTE, with his back toward a loading door. Another MTE forklift operator reversed her forklift out of a trailer toward Izzard and the parked forklift.“The reversing forklift operator either did not see or took insufficient notice of Mr. Izzard, the other MTE employee and the parked forklift,” the agreed facts state. The machine struck Izzard, pinning his leg to the stationary forklift.The company admitted to failing to identify potential or existing hazards at the warehouse related to powered mobile equipment and pedestrians.Jennifer Miller, Champion’s counsel, said the company “finds this event entirely unacceptable” and has made improvements to its health and safety regime.Four occupational health and safety charges against MTE continue to make their way through the courts.The Crown and defence’s joint submission on sentencing will see around $85,000 divided between the Glenrose Rehabilitation Hospital and the Steadward Centre, a centre at the University of Alberta specializing in sports and fitness programming for people with disabilities.Izzard said he’s pleased part of the legal fallout from the accident is over.“I came very, very close to dying,” Izzard told the court. “But I’m glad I made it and I’m going to move on with my life. I hope the lessons learned prevent this from happening to anyone else again.”Izzard also ran for city council in firstname.lastname@example.org/jonnywakefieldEditor’s note: This story has been corrected to reflect that Wade Izzard’s left leg was injured.