Blog Post #222 – Manitoba Utility Worker’s Truck Breaks Through Ice

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A Manitoba Hydro employee was treated in hospital after the truck he was driving on an ice-covered lake at the Stephenfield Provincial Park broke through.

The employee had been patrolling a 230-kilovolt transmission line on November 30 as part of an annual maintenance program to ensure transmission hardware is in place, says Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Glenn Schneider. The worker was driving the flex-track truck over the Boyne River in the community of Carman, Schneider says, but as he crossed the ice, it “wasn’t strong enough to support” the weight of the vehicle.

Brad Ireland, division manager for corporate safety and health at Manitoba Hydro, says the employee climbed out of the submerged truck and onto its roof. The water was about four feet deep, adds Paul White, a spokesperson for Communications Services Manitoba.

Ireland notes that the employee was rescued within an hour. By the time the Carman Fire Department had arrived on scene, says Chief Ed Vandersluis, a fellow employee had already retrieved the worker, who was waiting inside a utility pick-up truck. The truck met an ambulance on the road and the worker was transported to hospital.

“The province is satisfied it will be dealt with by Manitoba Hydro in the appropriate manner,” White says. “So from our perspective, there are no orders being written.”

A similar accident recently took place in the Northwest Territories. Tyhee Development Corporation reported that two employees and one contract worker from the Yellowknife Gold Project were in a truck crossing a lake on December 1 when the vehicle passing “over a weak spot in the ice fell through, resulting in one fatality.”

My opinion

It seems that only a life-ending accident would suffice for the Manitoba government. Here we find a chance for a preventative action plan to go in to effect, but NO! “THE PROVINCE IS SATISFIED IT WILL BE DEALT WITH BY MANITOBA HYDRO!”

I am sure glad I work in Ontario. The government here usually deals with incidents just as hard as accidents. The Ontario Ministry of Labour understands the need for a permanent corrective action plan. They just do not need to see a death to commit an employer to change.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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