Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

A 34-year-old worker was fatally injured on September 8, 2010 when a pre-fabricated concrete wall fell on him at a construction site near Halifax.

Chrissy Matheson, a spokesperson for Nova Scotia Labour and Workforce Development, says the accident occurred at about 11:30 am at the Burnside Industrial Park. The five-year employee of Tilt- Pro Contracting was working near the concrete wall, part of the future site of an Armour Transportation Systems (ATS) building, when a cement truck backed into the wall. The contact caused the wall to come down on the worker.

Constable Jeff Carr, a public information officer with the Halifax Regional Police, says the worker suffered “severe injuries to his lower extremities.” He was taken to hospital, where he later died.

Matheson says provincial investigators issued two verbal orders requiring the company to “have the vehicle involved in the accident inspected properly,” and to develop an internal incident report.

ATS spokesperson Tracey Tulloch says the company is also doing its own review.

Julie Trites, a communications advisor for Nova Scotia’s WCB, says board figures show that although there was only one fatality in the construction industry last year, there were more than 2,900 injuries. Of those, 762 injuries were serious enough to require time off the job.

My opinion

Here we see a company not in tune with the safety standards in the province of Nova Scotia. Mind you, Nova Scotia was quite lacking for health and safety standards, like her sister province, Alberta. Do you remember the Westray mining accident of 1992? This accident, even though it happened in Nova Scotia, it drove change all across Canada with Bill C45. At the time, Canada, as well as Nova Scotia, had deficient health and safety laws or lacked them altogether. Now we have section 217.1 of the Canadian criminal code which states, “Everyone who has the authority to direct how another person does work or performs a task, is under a legal duty to take reasonable steps to prevent bodily harm to that person, or any other person, arising from that work or task.” It is funny to see that in the light of the business of Canada, or in this case, Nova Scotia, health and safety of the workforce is only improved after a catastrophic event such as the Westray mining accident.

I do hope that legislative changes come out of the accident. At the very least, a sufficient fine is needed as a deterrent. Let us hope that this is the case or other workers will be at the mercy of the unprotected worksite.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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