Blog Post #498 – Three Deaths Over Three Days

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

An Alberta oil worker who succumbed to his injuries after suffering a crushing impact to the head became the third worker in the province to die in as many days in October.

The employee of Bearing Oilfield Services Ltd. was working at Tuboscope Canada’s oilfield yard near Elk River, Alberta at about 9 am on October 16, 2010. This is one of three deaths over three days.

The 58-year-old worker had been tasked with moving oilfield pipes using a crane known as a knuckle boom picker, says Chris Chodan, a spokesperson for Alberta Employment and Immigration (AEI) in Edmonton. While setting up the crane to offload the piping, his head was crushed between the picker and an outrigger, Chodan reports. Investigators issued a stop-work order on the unit.

Less than a day before the incident, another worker was fatally injured when he fell off a ladder at the Canadian Forces Base in Edmonton. At about 12:45 pm on October 15, 2010 Chodan says the employee of W.D. Contractors Group Ltd. was performing construction work on a building when he fell and sustained head injuries. He died in hospital that same evening.

And on October 14,2010 a worker for Ellen’s Contracting Inc. was fatally injured at a Canadian Natural Resources Limited site north of Fort McMurray, Alberta. The worker was struck by another worker backing up a vehicle, Chodan says.

Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour in Edmonton, says the incidents clearly demonstrate that more needs to be done to combat on-the-job hazards. McGowan notes that from January to the end of July, there had been 76 work-related fatalities in Alberta compared with 58 for the same period in 2009.

My opinion

I realize it looks like I am picking on Alberta but as Jean Chretien once said, “The proof is the proof.” (or something to that effect)

Alberta has had a long history of problems in occupational health and safety. The problem is not with the businesses out there but the government not enforcing their own laws. This ‘cowboy’ mentality has to go! The work culture there has to start adopting safety as an overriding priority. If not, then more and more workers will die and things will never change.

By the way, at the CSSE conference in Calgary, Alberta, I met many safety professionals from that area that are committed to health and safety. They believe that things are changing. I certainly hope so but from reading the above story, I think there is a lot of work to do out there. The first thing may to have the Minister of Labour, if they have one, to step down. It should not be just a patronage appointment.

Remember – Alberta Heath and Safety – An Oxymoron!

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’ 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 – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

16 thoughts on “Blog Post #498 – Three Deaths Over Three Days”

Leave a Comment