TORONTO — Two fatalities in the sewer, watermain and heavy civil sector last week have prompted the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association (IHSA) and the Ontario Sewer and Watermain Construction Association (OSWCA) to release a joint statement.
“When tragic work events occur on construction sites, we all suffer a loss,” indicates the statement, signed by Enzo Garritano, president and CEO of the IHSA, and Giovanni Cautillo, executive director of OSWCA. “Our sympathies are extended to the families who have suffered the greatest loss: that of a loved one. Additionally, our thoughts are also with the companies that suffered the loss of a friend and colleague.”
On June 19, a worker on a sewer project in Oshawa, Ont. for Orin Contractors Corporation was pinned under part of an excavator in a trench. It took a crew of 30 fire personnel about two hours to free the man, who was then transported to Lakeridge Health with life threatening injuries. He succumbed to his injuries on June 21. The Ministry of Labour (MOL) was called in and the investigation is ongoing.
In a separate incident, a worker was operating machinery in a tunnel while working on an underground sewer project in Stoney Creek, Ont. The worker was pronounced dead at the scene and the coroner and the MOL were called in to investigate. The contract for the project is held by McNally Construction.
In the statement, the IHSA and OSWCA urged all contractors in the sector to be more vigilant.
“Identify hazards and speak to the workers regarding safe work practices,” the statement notes. “Prevention is the key to avoiding workplace incidents. As we at IHSA and OSWCA learn more about these fatalities, more specific prevention recommendations will be provided to members and the wider construction sector in the hopes that these tragedies can be eliminated.”