Student still in hospital
Official says injured man wasn’t wearing proper equipment
A welding student at New Dawn College wasn’t wearing the proper safety equipment when he suffered burns at the school last week.
Michael Gouthro, a student in the high-pressure pipe welding program, is still recovering at the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax where he was transported after his clothes caught fire on Jan. 24.
Erika Shea, communications director at New Dawn Enterprises, which operates the college, said Gouthro didn’t have his leather apron on when the incident occurred.
“He had his welding helmet on, he didn’t have the chest protector on and that is where the burn occurred,” she said.
The accident took place during the school day but not during class, according to Shea, who said the students and instructors were in the building and performed first aid and called 911.
“That was what allowed them to react so quickly,” she said.
The Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education and the fire marshal were contacted as per school policy. The Department of Labour told the Cape Breton Post that no investigation was ordered, although it was “providing guidance to the institution to help improve safety protocols and practices.”
“My understanding is when they did their inspection, they didn’t find there was anything of particular concern — a few minor recommendations,” said Shea.
She said New Dawn Enterprises president Rankin MacSween visited Gouthro in hospital this week and reported he is doing “exceptionally well,” with his mother Tammy Lynn Gouthro, who is ready to give birth at any moment, at his side with her own bag packed in case she needs to be admitted.
She said Gouthro, who previously earned his basic welding diploma at New Dawn, seemed eager to return to the school and even expressed concern about being able to complete his final exams.
While classes continued normally after the incident, Shea said a social worker will be at the school next week “in case there are any students that feel like it may have been upsetting … we want to make sure they have someone with professional counselling abilities to talk to.”