Labour tribunal rules in favour of man who got cancer after working with X-ray machine
Published Thursday, January 25, 2018 12:33PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 25, 2018 8:16PM EST
A labour tribunal has ruled in favour of a Trois Rivieres man who claims he got cancer from exposure to radiation at work.
In a judgment released earlier this week, the tribunal said that Sucre BBR did not properly inform its workers of the risk involved with working near one of its X-ray machines.
Michel Plante was working at the sugar refinery as the director of quality control and part of his tasks involved using an X-ray machine to examine sugar to ensure it was free of metal.
That machine was later sold to a company in Ontario, at which point the machine was tested and determined to be emitting higher levels of radiation than are permitted.
Upon learning that, Plante contacted Quebec's labour safety board, the CNESST, to report the problem and to point out that similar machines were being used elsewhere in Quebec.
In 2014, he was diagnosed with bladder cancer, and has since developed prostate cancer. He is still being treated for both diseases.
"It was very aggressive and I got a surgery to remove it," said Plante.
Plante then got no response from the workplace safety board.
"I gave them the report, the report was precise and I said go there because the other workers that have the same thing. They said they don't care, when I talk to the person there they said maybe if there are two other people we will begin to consider going over there," said Plante.
As a result he contacted lawyer Sophie Mongeon who brought his case before a labour board tribunal.
"Our objective is not financial, our objective is purely for the workers. That's all we do here is work accidents and car accidents," said Mongeon.
"I'm tired that the workers don't have the respect that they need, and when they call the company, or the CNESST, their first mission is to help these people. They didn't listen to this man."
Mongeon and Plante are calling on the CNESST to change the safety code when it comes to equipment that uses radiation, saying that code has not been revised in three decades.
Sucre BBR was sold in 2017 and the company now operates under the name Sucre Solution.
It issued a statement saying the tribunal never sanctioned the previous owners, nor did it evaluate the X-ray machine. It is also offering aid to any employee that needs it.