A photo and diagram from the WorkSafeBC Incident Investigation Report illustrating improperly stacked metal roofing through which the foreman fell to his death in February 2017. He was unattached to the lifeline as seen at the bottom of the image. (WorkSafeBC)

Worker who fell to his death at Chilliwack job site wasn’t wearing fall protection

WorkSafeBC report found employer did not provide training, a safety plan or proper supervision

A young worker who fell to his death from a tilt-up building under construction at the Bailey Landfill two years ago wasn’t wearing fall protection, safety procedures weren’t followed, there was improper training of workers, and he was not being supervised.

Those are just some of the causes and contributing factors leading to the fatal workplace accident on Feb. 21, 2017, according to a WorkSafeBC Incident Investigation Report (IIR) The Progress obtained this week through a freedom of information request.

• READ MORE: Construction worker killed at Chilliwack landfill construction project

The report – which was redacted of the personal information of anyone involved in the incident – found that just after noon that day, a young worker fell between gaps in metal roofing being installed 14 metres (46 feet) to the concrete slab below.

“The direct cause of this incident was a fall from elevation due to the worker not being connected to the fall arrest system that was installed at the jobsite,” according to the conclusion in the IIR.

The IIR found the rigger and the welder were wearing fall protection.

“The rigger walked over near to where the foreman fell and saw him lying on the ground,” the report found. “The rigger yelled ‘Man down,’ and other workers attended to provide assistance. The foreman died at the jobsite.”

After the incident, an unnamed coworker posted on social media about witnessing the fatality.

“He didn’t make it,” he said in a Facebook post. “I have never in my life felt so helpless and scared. It’s going to be a rough night for me. Please help and say a prayer for his wife and family.”

The reason the young worker, who was the foreman, was not tied to his lifeline was not determined by the WorkSafeBC report. This statement in the IIR is followed by a sentence that has been redacted.

The worker was an employee of Well Done Welding World Ltd., which itself was subcontracted by the main contractor Titan Construction to build the waste transfer facility at the Bailey Landfill.

• READ MORE: Organic waste transfer station to be built in Chilliwack

The project was the third tilt-up building that Well Done had ever built. The company had three workers on site at the time of the incident: the foreman, who was identified as a “young worker” as defined by the Occupational Health and Safety Regulation; a rigger; and a welder.

The project was at the stage of construction where sheets of metal decking were lifted on to the roof.

“The Well Done workers did not follow the [safe work procedure] for placing the metal decking.”

The decking was stacked in such a way that it “created unnecessary and unsafe gaps in the metal decking…. One of these gaps in the metal decking was where the foreman fell from the roof.”

Further criticism in the IIR included the lack of safety meetings on site, the fact that the company had no written fall protection plan, the workers had minimal training, and no supervision when the incident occurred.

The IIR found the prime contractor, Titan Construction, was also responsible for the lack of supervision on site.

“If adequate site inspections had been carried out by Titan while the metal decking was being laid out on the roof, the unsafe manner in which it was being done might have been identified and addressed,” the report concluded.

“Much of the construction of this building was being performed at heights over 25 feet, yet no fall protection plan was in place.”

In the end, Titan Construction was found in violation of one section of the Workers Compensation Act (WCA), and Well Done Welding World was in violation of four sections of the WCA.

No details on penalties applied to Titan or Well Done were made available at this point. See www.theprogress.com for details when those become available.

• RELATED: Equipment malfunction blamed in Chilliwack workplace death

• RELATED: Safety rules broken when Chilliwack construction worker seriously injured


@PeeJayAitch
paul.henderson@theprogress.com

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