Blog Post #1301 – Fall From Height Proved Fatal in Alberta

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (January 2016)

An employee of a steel manufacturing plant in South Edmonton died from a fall on January 19, 2016.

The 50-year-old victim, who worked for CESSCO Fabrication and Manufacturing Ltd., was on a Genie lift at the top of a tank when the incident occurred at about 6 PM. According to Christine Wronko, a spokesperson for Alberta’s Ministry of Job, Skills, Training and Labour in Edmonton, the worker was doing some welding on the top of the tank when he fell just under 6 m to the ground below. He suffered critical injuries and died on the way to the hospital.

The Edmonton Police Service (EPS) responded to the accident at approximately 6:30 PM. Occupational health & safety representatives from the Ministry received a call about an hour after the incident. EPS information Ofc. Anna Batchelor confirms that police officers attended the scene, but cannot release further details, as police do not deem the incident to be criminal in nature. OH&S officials have since taken over the investigation.

Wronka says the worker was wearing fall-protection equipment at the time. “Part of the investigation will be, obviously, to try and determine what happened,” she notes.

A January 20, 2016 announcement on CESSCO’s website confirms the incident occurred and that the company is conducting its own internal investigation in addition to the Ministry’s. The company also states that the Ministry and EPS released the area of the incident back to the employer after investigating it.

“While we are assisting with the ongoing investigation,” CESSCO president and general manager Don McFarlane says in a statement released on the day following the fatality, “our primary focus at this time is providing any necessary assistance to the family and the well-being of our employees.”

My opinion

Another bad day for employees in Alberta!

Why was the worker not tied off? In Ontario, the ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91, section 148.1(e) states,

“An elevating work platform,

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 a result of this deadly accident, the following was the result,

Under a joint submission on sentencing, Cessco will pay a $5,000 fine and pay the Manufacturer’s Health and Safety Association $170,000 to create an enhanced fall protection program.

Another example that the province of Alberta looks to have the industries govern themselves. $5,000 fine! That is all they will get out of this. The second half of this is window dressing only. Where is the government mandating fall protection training that covers most jobsites? Ontario has it in place but where is Alberta.

Back in the dark ages, I guess.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. 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 most of 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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