Blog Post #1104 – Head Injury Kills Worker in Newfoundland

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

The man has died as a result of a head injury from a scissor-lift accident at the College of the North Atlantic in Stephenville, Newfoundland.

Gerard Drover’s death on September 1, 2019, was publicly mourned in an online post by Marty Gregory – President of Paradise, Newfoundland contracting firm RothLochston – who was Drover’s friend and first cousin.

According to Gregory, Drover was working on the campus for local painting company that was sub-contracted through a company based in Québec.

“Gerard was operating a scissor lift when he came in contact with an overhead industrial fan,” Gregory writes. “He was wearing all his personal protective equipment. Obviously, there was a lockout/tagout isolation breach. The investigation is ongoing.”

Gregory calls the incident “senseless and preventable” in the post, which appeared on the RothLochston website on September 4, 2019.

Local news reports state that drover was 55 years old and that the actual accident occurred on August 28, 2019, four days before he succumbed to his injuries. In addition, the RCMP are reportedly investigating the incident with the Chief medical Examiner of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Gregory remembers Drover as “a man of many talents,” including music, sound technology, painting and plastering, as well as “an excellent co-worker and a kind, gentle soul.”

In the online statement, Gregory also calls out to employers and workers to live up to their responsibilities in maintaining safe workplaces.

“It is the EMPLOYER’S/OWNER’S ultimate responsibility to ensure a safe workplace for all. Responsibility I take very seriously,” writes Gregory, adding that supervisors and managers play a vital role “to relay, in an objective manner, the employee’s concerns to management and ensure that work does not proceed until all risks are mitigated.”

To workers, he advises: “It is, ALWAYS, okay to ask a question or to seek clarification, and certainly your right to refuse an unsafe work assignment. Do not work alone, EVER. Getting the job done isn’t as important as your personal safety.

My opinion

The law is very specific in all provinces concerning lockout and tagout legislation. Basically, it states, “All work in not to be started until all machinery has been properly locked and tagged out. In Ontario, the legislation goes a little further and states that the next step to the process is to ensure and verify all energies have been locked out properly and all primary and secondary energies have been identified, assessed and controlled.

A completed JHA (Job Hazard Analysis or Assessment) should have been completed prior to any work was to be done. The industrial fan WAS a definite hazard and was to be avoided OR lockout and tagged out.

I have included 7 steps necessary to ensure proper lockout:

  • Preparation
  • Communications
  • Shut down
  • Isolation
  • Application
  • Control
  • Verification


Preparation: Proper Planning is necessary. Determine what and who will be

involved. Determine length of time to complete project. You should

have a working knowledge of the energy and the hazards.

Communications: Notify all personnel who will be affected by the lockout and

tagout because there is a need to know that a lockout and tagout procedure is taking place and why.

Shutdown: Identify and locate all sources of energy. (primary and secondary)

Follow procedures to properly protect employees. Remember, guard against stored energy.

Isolation: Steps in Isolation, Isolate and/or neutralize all energy concerning the

equipment. Apply a lock to the energy isolating device if the machine has one. Dissipate or restrain stored energy by, repositioning, disconnect, block, drain or bleed lines.

Application: Each worker is to apply his/her own lock and tag on the equipment,

machinery or materials. Use only assigned individual locks and tags.

Control: All stored energy MUST reach the “Zero Energy State”. This can be done by the following;

  1. Release tension,
  2. Block or brace parts,
  3. Open drains,
  4. Relieve Pressure,
  5. Bleed Lines, or
  6. Cycle the system.

Verification: Double check all steps to isolation. Ensure that all equipment is in

“Zero Energy State” by conducting a personal check. Attempt to re-start equipment in the locked and tagged out position by pressing or activating controls, or ensure controls are in the off or neutral position.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. (Including Lockout and Tagout) Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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

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