Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Two workers were killed and three more injured in separate incidents in the Montreal area in early April.
On April 4, 2011, at about 10:40 am, a worker at Bailey Metal Products in Dorval, Quebec died after being struck by a large roll of sheet metal weighing between 680 and 1,590 kilograms, says CSST spokesperson Jacques Nadeau.
Nadeau says the worker was helping a forklift operator to guide the 1.5-metre-diameter roll onto a stockpile when the roll moved unexpectedly. “He was crushed. He was taken to hospital, but they were not able to save him.”
A CSST investigator has ordered Bailey Metal Products to create a safe-work procedure for transporting and stockpiling the rolls, Nadeau says.
Just days following the fatal incident, on April 8 at approximately 9:40 am, falling bricks at a masonry refurbishment project rained down on four workers for Alex Maconnerie Inc., Nadeau says. It is believed the men were standing on scaffolding, removing old bricks from a low-rise building and replacing them with new ones, he reports.
The falling bricks likely caused the scaffold to collapse. Workers “were trapped under the scaffold in all the bricks.”
Bystanders called emergency services and rushed to help the workers, rummaging through the debris to free them. They were trapped for about 20 minutes.
Nadeau reports that one man suffered a heart attack and died, while the other three sustained fractures and cuts.
Although Joao Homen, owner of Sunshine Masonry in Toronto, could not comment on the specific project, in general, he emphasizes the importance of removing and replacing old brick in small sections and using braces to support walls when completing masonry refurbishment. “You never take all of the wall down in one shot,” Homen advises.
As well, bricks that connect interior and exterior brick walls should be cut carefully using a grinder, he says. “If you start smashing, that’s when you start to lose the wall, and that’s when you start having problems,” Homen adds.
A worker crushed in today’s Canadian workplace! Why was the roll of sheet metal not wrapped or strapped prior to the moving operation? Was it ever discussed at a supervisor/worker tailgate meeting along with a complete list of possible hazards associated with such a move. Probably not, obviously not!
There are many regulations out there to protect the workforce, none more important that the responsibilities of the employer listed in almost all jurisdictions in Canada. The key is “Enforcement” and that is something that is quite different across Canada.
Please ensure that you fully understand all the regulations governing your workplace. The worker is entitled and expects to be safe when he/she works for you!
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.