Blog Post #1118 – Quebec Government Worker Dies in Workplace Accident on Cranberry Farm

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A 35-year old employee of Quebec’s agriculture ministry dies in an accident at a cranberry farm in Shawinigan. The accident occurred the morning of October 4, 2019, when the woman fell from a platform while filming at the site.

Provincial police say a piece of the woman’s clothing, later identified as a scarf by the Workplace Health and Safety Board, caught in moving machinery.

Please say an emergency but was pushed to stop the machine and the woman was taken to hospital where she was declared dead.

The provincial Workplace Health and Safety Board has opened an investigation that will include an evaluation of the work methods and machinery on the farm.

Québec agriculture Minister Andre Lamontagne offered his condolences to the victim’s family and said support would be offered to her colleagues.

My opinion

What a sad thing to happen. Here we have a government employee getting too close to the work area and was hauled into moving equipment.

We expect our employers to have JHA’s (Job Hazard Assessment or Analysis) before any work was to be done. Why was she so close to a moving piece of machinery? Every province knows about Machine Guarding and machine guarding hazards.

What a sad thing to happen. Here we have a government employee getting too close to the work area and was hauled into moving equipment. Her training should have better prepared her for the work to be done and she should have had a working knowledge of machine guard hazards.

There were many ways she could have been protected. One that comes to kind is a light curtain.

The definition of a Light Curtain is,

“Light curtains are opto-electronic devices that are used to safeguard personnel in the vicinity of moving machinery with the potential to cause harm such as presses, winders and palletisers. Light curtains can be used as an alternative to mechanical barriers and other forms of traditional machine guarding.”

Another type of protection is an interlock.

Interlocking device (interlock) — a mechanical, electrical, or other type of device, the purpose of which is to prevent the operation of machine elements under specified conditions (usually when the guard is not closed).

As the reader can see, there were many things that could have been put in place to protect the government employee. There really was no to have this government worker, or any other worker, to be at risk.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Machine Guarding’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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


Leave a Comment