Blog Post #729 – Alberta Worker Fatalities Probed

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Two unrelated workplace fatalities involving two outdoor workers, both of which occurred on August 9, 2013, have sparked investigations by Alberta Human Services’ occupational health and safety division.

The first incident took place at an oil well near Highvale, a small community about 70 kilometres west of Edmonton. A young man working for Essential Well Service was killed when a hoisting assembly fell on him. A service rig was pulling a rod out of a hole when the hoisting assembly failed and came down, fatality injuring the worker, reports Lisa Glover, a public affairs officer for Alberta Human Services. Glover could not confirm the age of the victim, but young workers are typically considered to be between the ages of 16 and 24.

The second incident occurred just before 6 pm at a construction site on the Steinhauer Bridge in Fort McMurray. A 48-year-old worker was fatality crushed when the raised box of a 53-foot semi-trailer and dump truck parked beside it. The victim was operating the latter truck at the time.

Glover says a stop-work order was issued for the site immediately after the incident, but it was lifted on August 11, 2013, two days later.

My opinion

The province of Alberta has two more deaths. The only reason it was reported here is because to happen the same and different locations at the situation is still the same. The province of Alberta has one third the workforce and three times the number of deaths as are in Ontario, yet reports on accidents in the workplace keep piling up.

I was sad to learn that the stop work order was removed so quickly, as I guess I had to get back to work quickly instead of worrying about the bigger safety issues.

My next concern is wondering how old the young worker really was. Terrible and tragic accident that occurred been easily avoided if a set of safe work procedures were discussed prior to the operation.

One of the main problems, as I see it, is that the province of Alberta doesn’t see the need to properly supervise the workforce. The competency standard discusses training, knowledge of the ACT and all the associated hazards BUT does not suggest proper supervision, in fact, the third part of the competency standard states they worker to have the training to be able to work unsupervised for with minimal supervision. This is where the province of Alberta continues to fall flat. An extra layer of protection for the workforce would certainly go a long way. It just might have protected these two workers.

Remember – Alberta Health 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.

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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer

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