Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (Nov. 2015)

A construction employee was killed in a fall at a worksite in Montréal, when the platform in which he was standing suddenly overturned. The incident occurred on September 15, 2015 at the Champlain Bridge’s ice-control structure over the St. Lawrence River, according to the provincial police force, the Sûreté du Québec (SQ)

The Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CSST) has identified the 44-year-old victim as Dany Cléroux, a site foreman with Boisbriand-based construction firm Groupe TNT. “He had a fall in the river when the platform in which he was placed overturned,” CSST spokesperson Maxime Boucher says. For manual chain blocks were used to lower the platform on the barge, and the platform detached itself from the ice-control structure during the lowering, sending Cléroux plummeting.

Boucher notes that Cléroux wore a safety harness during two previous dissents on the same platform that morning. “For this one, we don’t know,” he says, referring to the third descent. “The witnesses can’t tell us if he wore a harness at the time.”

Police were notified of the accident at about 12:20 p.m., and officers arrived at the scene shortly afterwards to help search for Cléroux, according to SQ spokesperson Sgt. Joyce Kemp. The worker’s body was found at around 630 on the same day, she reports.

CSST is investigation the incident in cooperation with SQ and TNT.

TNT issued a statement on September 16, 2015, expressing its condolences and stating that it had mobilized all of its internal resources to provide support and “psychological assistance” to Cléroux’ family, his coworkers and their families.

The provinces construction sector has seen a lot of incidents over the past two years, according to Boucher. Last year alone, there were 15 fatalities at construction sites in Québec.

My opinion

As a certified trainer of the Ontario-sponsored “Working at Heights” (WAH), I find it difficult to understand why Cléroux was not tied off. Section 148, subsection 1(d) and (e) state,

  1. “(1) An elevating work platform,

(d)  shall not be moved unless all workers on it are protected from ejection by being attached to an adequate anchorage point on the elevating work platform by a method of fall protection; and

(e)  shall not be used, in the case of a self-propelled or vehicle-mounted boom-type elevating work platform or a vehicle-mounted aerial device, unless all workers on it are attached to an adequate anchorage point on the elevating work platform by a method of fall protection.”

As the reader can see, there is no grey area here. Once an Elevating Work Platform (EWP)is in use for any reason then all workers MUST be tied off.

I do hope the employer receives a very stiff penalty. A worker should follow all safe work procedures and complete hazard assessments before any work is to be done.

Too bad for Mr. Cléroux and his family!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Fall Protection’ and ‘Working at Heights’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.