OHS Canada Magazine

News

Conductor dies on the job at Saskatchewan rail yard

Transportation Safety Board investigating fatality of CN employee


(Canadian OH&S News) — A train conductor lost his life at a rail yard just outside of Saskatoon, in a work accident on the evening of April 9.

The Transportation Safety Board of Canada (TSB) sent a team of investigators to the scene of the incident, according to a press release that the Board put out on the morning following the tragedy. The release noted that the incident had involved the death of a Canadian National Rail (CN) employee, but no other information was available from the TSB as of press time.

“We are sending two investigators,” TSB media rep Julie Leroux told COHSN. “It’s near Saskatoon; I don’t have the exact location.”

But Teamsters Canada, the union that represents CN’s rail conductors, has identified the victim as Kevin Timmerman.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the conductor who died in this tragic accident,” Teamsters Canada rail conference vice president Roland Hackl said in a press statement on the day after the incident. “We won’t make any comments before the investigation is over.”

Media reports have described Timmerman as a 51-year-old Melville man who worked as a conductor for the rail company for decades. His mother told CBC News on April 11 that he had begun working as a CN conductor at the age of 16.

According to information from CN, Timmerman was fatally injured while working at the railway’s Chappell Yard at about 10:30 p.m. on the 9th. After paramedics arrived, an ambulance reportedly rushed him to Royal University Hospital in Saskatoon with life-threatening injures, but he suffered a cardiac arrest on the way to the facility and later died.

This incident comes as CN, and Canada’s rail industry overall, is facing scrutiny over its occupational safety standards, following three separate derailments of CN freight trains in Northern Ontario earlier this year – two of which occurred near Gogoma, a small community between Sudbury and Timmins. The third, on March 7, involved the derailment of 30 cars, triggering a fire and oil pollution of the Mattagami River System.

The TSB investigators are gathering information at the accident site and will use it to evaluate the incident.