Labour boss cites flooded tun­nel, safety con­cerns

PressReader - Tke Channel - Labour boss cites flooded tun­nel, safety con­cerns
The Ot­tawa and Dis­trict Labour Coun­cil has re­leased a photo of wa­ter that had leaked into the LRT tun­nel.The photo, taken more than a month ago ac­cord­ing to the labour coun­cil, raises ques­tions about the safety of work­ers on the project, said labour coun­cil pres­i­dent Sean McKenny. But it’s also not the worst photo McKenny has seen of work­ing con­di­tions un­der­ground. Oth­ers have not been made pub­lic.“There are a num­ber of pho­tos that we have that are worse. But this is the one that re­ally shows the wa­ter piece (of the prob­lem),” he said. “It’s not a pud­dle. It’s sig­nif­i­cant.”The work­ers are con­cerned about hav­ing to walk through the wa­ter, said McKenny. “When you have wa­ter like that, you never know what you’re walk­ing on or into. There have been is­sues with work­ers fall­ing and trip­ping be­cause of the amount of de­bris.”There are ad­di­tional con­cerns be­cause there are also a lot of power tools and elec­tri­cal cords in use in the tun­nel, he said. “The city says safety is a pri­or­ity. If it were a pri­or­ity, we wouldn’t have a photo like this float­ing around.”Kenny said the photo was taken at least a month ago by work­ers at the west por­tal, near Le­Bre­ton Flats.In a state­ment, Steven Cripps, the city’s direc­tor of O-Train con­struc­tion, said the photo was taken af­ter a record rain­fall on July 25 when the lo­ca­tion was run­ning on tem­po­rary sump pumps.“With the lo­ca­tion still un­der con­struc­tion, tem­po­rary pumps could not han­dle the ex­ces­sive amount of wa­ter from the record­break­ing rain­fall, re­sult­ing in lo­cal­ized flood­ing,” said Cripps. “When the project is com­plete, per­ma­nent sump pumps and drainage sys­tems will han­dle any wa­ter in­fil­tra­tion dur­ing in­clement weather.”Cripps added that the LRT tun­nel has a wa­ter­proof layer around it be­cause the tun­nel is be­low the wa­ter ta­ble.“If wa­ter leaks still oc­cur, RTG (the Rideau Tran­sit Group, the con­sor­tium build­ing the east-west LRT line) ad­dresses them on an in­di­vid­ual, case-by-case ba­sis us­ing an in­jec­tion mech­a­nism that is very ef­fec­tive as the in­jected ma­te­rial so­lid­i­fies and be­comes im­pen­e­tra­ble.”McKenny said the labour coun­cil un­der­stood that the photo was taken when the pump­ing sys­tem was not work­ing, which al­lowed a sig­nif­i­cant amount of wa­ter to ac­cu­mu­late. “Surely there would be a backup pump,” he said.Last month, the city’s finance and eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment com­mit­tee heard the Rideau Tran­sit Group could not meet the Nov. 2 dead­line and that the Con­fed­er­a­tion line won’t launch un­til 2019.Mean­while, it’s un­clear how many work­ers have been in­jured in the tun­nel project. Some in­juries have been re­ported by paramedics and other de­tails have been re­leased to the me­dia through doc­u­ments.In March, work on a sec­tion of the Rideau Street sec­tion of the project was halted af­ter two work­ers were hos­pi­tal­ized with mi­nor in­juries af­ter two trans­porta­tion de­vices col­lided. In July 2017, a worker suf­fered a neck in­jury when equip­ment at a tun­nel en­try point on Queen Street fell on his head. In March 2017, a crane op­er­a­tor es­caped in­jury when he leaped from the crane as it tipped over while lift­ing a small ce­ment mixer into a hole at a tun­nel near Lau­rier Av­enue and Waller Street.Post­media re­ported in Au­gust 2017 that it had ac­quired seven sets of min­utes from meet­ings of the LRT Con­fed­er­a­tion Line’s joint health and safety com­mit­tee from the Ot­tawa and Dis­trict Labour Coun­cil. The Jan­uary 2017 meet­ing in­cluded a note about Labour Min­istry in­spec­tors in­ves­ti­gat­ing a worker who lost con­scious­ness while work­ing along the old Tran­sit­way near Carruthers Av­enue, as well as de­scrip­tions of other in­juries, in­clud­ing a worker am­pu­tat­ing the tip of his thumb when a cir­cu­lar saw kicked back, a worker strain­ing his groin while repo­si­tion­ing a steel beam, a worker re­ceiv­ing seven stitches to close a wound on an index fin­ger from a steel burr, and a worker’s ring fin­ger crushed while repo­si­tion­ing equip­ment.McKenny said he be­lieves the num­ber of in­juries re­ported to the On­tario Min­istry of Labour don’t re­flect the ac­tual num­ber of in­juries suf­fered on the project. Some work­ers do not seek com­pen­sa­tion, so they are not counted, he said.Work­ers also don’t want their em­ploy­ers to know that they have shared pho­tos of con­di­tions on the job site for fear of los­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to work, said McKenny. “A lot of work­ers are re­luc­tant to rock the boat.”

Sean McKenny, pres­i­dent of the Ot­tawa and Dis­trict Labour Coun­cil, says flood­ing of the LRT job site is a dan­ger to work­ers.

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