(Canadian OH&S News) — Police officers and Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) inspectors attended and investigated a construction site in downtown Sudbury, after a pedestrian was killed by a construction vehicle on the afternoon of Sept. 30.
The victim, a 58-year-old lady with a walker, was struck and run over by a road grader, or a six-wheel vehicle with a shovel blade between the front two wheels and the back four wheels, just before 2 p.m. that day, according to information from the Greater Sudbury Police (GSP). The accident occurred at an intersection controlled by traffic lights at Elgin Street and Beech Street, where local contractor Interpaving Ltd. had been conducting a road-restoration project.
“It looks like the deceased,” said Staff Sgt. Rick Waugh of the GSP, “was looking across the street at what would have been a crosswalk, except there were no lines or anything painted there at the light, and as she was crossing the roadway, that’s when the grader came in contact with her.”
After investigating, police released the scene of the incident to the MOL officers in the evening.
“I can confirm that we were notified on Wednesday,” said MOL media spokesperson William Lin. “Although it was not a worker, we dispatched inspectors to the scene to investigate.”
Lin added that the MOL investigation would determine the exact cause of the fatality “and what led to the incident, whether or not there were any violations of workplace health and safety laws, that sort of thing.”
The victim’s body was subsequently transported to Toronto for a medical examination, which took place on Oct. 1. “It’s not uncommon here in Sudbury,” Staff Sgt. Waugh explained about the out-of-town location. “Sometimes, if it can’t be done in a certain time frame, then we bring the deceased to Toronto. I don’t think it had anything to do particularly with the actual incident.”
Staff Sgt. Waugh added that a post-examination had also been completed. “We’re not releasing any details of that until we get an official report from a pathologist, which then goes through a coroner’s office and then to us.”
Although media reports have suggested that there was no signage at the construction site and no clear markings to identify the worksite to public in the area, neither Staff Sgt. Waugh nor Lin could confirm this information to COHSN.
“We’ve recorded the scene,” said Staff Sgt. Waugh. “There were functioning traffic lights there, but I’m not going to make any comment as to the worksite or the signage or how that site was prepared.”
Meanwhile, an expert in traffic safety has been speaking out to the media about the dangers of the worksite. Dillon Daveikis, who runs the Sudbury safety-oversight firm Double T Traffic Control, has claimed that Interpaving did not do enough to enforce worker or pedestrian safety at the site. She had reportedly driven past the construction site before the accident and observed the lack of signage.
“I could have rang the alarm bell. And it pains me. And I cried today thinking perhaps, had I said something, that lady would still be alive,” Daveikis told CBC News on Oct. 2. “I don’t need to hear about any other people dying on our city streets.”
As of Oct. 2, the worksite was reportedly still shut down for the time being.