Worker Dies in Construction Accident

A young worker has died after a wall collapsed on him on a construction site. The man was involved in pipe laying when the incident occurred. This incident is a stark reminder of the dangers associated with trench work and the need for walls to be properly reinforced especially in bad weather conditions.

This post on Huffingtonpost.com has more:

The B.C. Coroners Service has identified the dead worker as Jeffrey Caron, 28, of Calgary.

One worker is dead, another in hospital after a retaining wall collapsed on them at a North Burnaby construction site.

The two men, who work for Surrey’s J. Cote & Son Excavating, were in a trench laying pipe on Thursday morning, said WorkSafeBC.

Burnaby RCMP said their investigators concluded there was no “criminality in the death” and have handed the case over to WorkSafeBC, reported The Province.

The job safety agency will be looking at factors that could have led to the incident, including the condition of the equipment and training, WorkSafeBC’s Megan Johnston told News 1130.

Source: http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/10/11/jeffrey-caron-dies-burnaby-construction-wall-cote_n_1959864.html

Factors that need to be considered when working in or near a trench include:

  • Ensuring a colleague or co-worker is on site while trench works are being carried out;
  • Making sure work is planned so it can be done safely, including determining appropriate, engulfment protection and site security requirements
  • A safe work method statement (SWMS) needs to be developed especially if high risk work is being carried out that involves mobile plant or if the trench depth is 1.5m or more;
  • Workers should never work outside of protection shields or remove it prematurely if it is being progressively installed;
  • Materials, spoil and plant are kept away from the edge of the trench.

When working with walls and other structures it is important to ensure their stability. The biggest threat to walls and building structures is bad weather such as wind and rain that may cause ground instability. For this reason workers need to ensure the structural integrity of walls and check that these structures remain structurally stable at each stage of its construction. One of the methods that can be engaged is the installation of lateral supports to make the building sturdy. There may be a need for lateral or temporary supports when erecting a wall, building or structure.

Another important issue to consider is the need to secure exclusion zones that keep unauthorised people out of the dangerous area where collapse of structures may occur. This will prevent passers-by from being injured if the structure does collapse. Workers that need not be in the vicinity should be kept out for their own safety.

It may also be useful to keep an eye out for adverse weather conditions. Watch weather reports to be informed in advance of strong winds or other adverse weather conditions. This will allow them to provide extra support for the structure if necessary, bad weather can be an extremely destructive force.

Workers need to be proactive in order to ensure their safety by being prepared, being aware of hazards and observing the correct safety procedures, accidents such as the one above can be avoided.

Another example where if the basics taught in the White Card construction safety course had been adhered to, there might not have been such an unfortunate outcome

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