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Alberta excavator accident kills young racecar driver

(Canadian OH&S News) 


(Canadian OH&S News) 

A racecar driver from Fredericton, New Brunswick has been killed in a worksite accident near Fort McMurray, Alberta, while operating an excavator in a borrow pit.

Jordan Gahan, 21, was working for Brayford Trucking Ltd. (BTL), a dozer and excavation company based in Leduc County, when the accident occurred on March 14. According to information from the occupational health and safety department (oh&s) of Alberta’s Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour, Gahan was driving an excavator at the bottom of the borrow pit when the vehicle suddenly fell through some ice.

“We’re just sickened by this event and very shaken,” said Susan Brayford, office manager and safety officer with BTL. “It’s hit us all very hard, because we’re a small company and our employees are like family.”

Information on the incident was limited, as the investigation is still ongoing. “We don’t have very much right now,” said Lisa Glover, public affairs officer with oh&s. Glover confirmed that department officials were currently “on the scene gathering more information,” adding that it was too early to speculate about what had caused the accident.

Brayford said that oh&s had placed a stop-work order on the site. “We’re just right now waiting for occupational health and safety to release that,” she added. “We’ve done our procedures to remove the equipment. Obviously, they want to make sure that our procedures to do that are in accordance with what they want to see us do.”

BTL plans for accidents involving vehicles and unstable ice, Brayford said. “It’s certainly something that we try to do our due diligence on to avoid.”

The dangers of working on or around ice are addressed in Alberta’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, according to Glover. “Anytime workers are working on ice and there’s a body of water, there are certain precautions that should be taken,” she pointed out.

News reports have stated that Gahan temporarily moved to Alberta in August of last year and was planning to return home to Fredericton near the end of March.

Known for driving car #16 (a Chevrolet) in the Pro Stock Division of the National Hot Rod Association, Gahan was a former student at the Race 101 racing school in Denver, North Carolina, according to biographical information on his website. In 2010, he was picked as the Pro Stock Rookie of the Year at Speedway 660, a racetrack in Geary, New Brunswick; he later finished in third place for the 2012 race season. His father, Paul Gahan, is also a professional racecar driver.

“That was certainly a passion of his,” said Brayford, referring to Gahan’s love of racing. “We’re just trying to get through it and keeping his family in our thoughts and prayers.”