Blue-collar’s death probed
BASIN ACCIDENT ‘ His colleagues are in shock – he was very well known,’ water director says
The provincial worker’s health and safety board is investigating after a Montreal blue-collar worker fell more than 13 metres to his death into an uncovered basin at a municipal water treatment plant in Pierrefonds yesterday.
Work in the vicinity of the basin has been halted while inspectors check the safety of the site and the work methods, Commission de la santé et de la sécurité du travail du Québec spokesperson Patri- cia Darilus said.
The victim, a foreman in his 50s, had worked for the city of Montreal for about 30 years, said Réjean Lévesque, director of municipal water services.
“His colleagues are in shock – he was very well known,” Lévesque said.
He declined to identify the man, at the request of the victim’s family.
The victim was on foot outside the plant on Gouin Blvd. W. when the accident occurred around 9 a.m.
The foreman was backing up as he unrolled a hose between two uncovered basins when he accidentally tripped on the metallic lip of one basin and fell to his death, Darilus said.
The lip of the basin, a newly built water reservoir that was waiting to be filled with water, was about seven centimetres above the ground, she said.
The four-storey-deep basins have covers, but the covers were not in place at the time of the accident, Darilus added.
Firefighters were called to retrieve the man’s body.
The victim’s colleagues did not witness the incident, Darilus said.
The CSST is concerned about the number of workplace accidents involving falls from heights of three metres or more, she noted.
In 2009, there were 744 such falls reported in Quebec; four people died as a result.
“This is a priority for the CSST,” Darilus said. “It’s important to ensure safe working methods.”
Psychologists and employee counsellors have been called in to help the man’s coworkers deal with the fatal accident, Lévesque said.
Montreal firefighters prepare to remove the body of a blue-collar worker who fell 13 metres down an uncovered basin while working yesterday at the Pierrefonds water treatment plant on Gouin Blvd.