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Crane accident kills contract worker at chemical facility

Worker struck by equipment at construction site


(Canadian OH&S News) — An employee of a crane company has died after an accident at a construction site at a chemical-manufacturing facility in Joffre, Alta., on April 27.

The incident occurred before 10 a.m. that day, according to information from the Alberta Ministry of Labour (MOL). At the NOVA Chemicals PE1 Expansion Project construction site, a group of workers were taking a crane apart when a piece of the crane struck a male worker.

“He was transported to Red Deer Hospital, but died on the way,” said MOL communications rep Lauren Welsh.

She added that occupational health and safety officials from the Ministry had been investigating the worksite on the day of the incident and the following day. “And there is a stop-work order in place for any crane dismantling,” said Welsh.

The victim, whose name has not been released publicly, was a contract worker from Rapicon, Inc., which rents and sells Potain cranes from its Rocky View location.

NOVA Chemicals senior vice president Bill Greene issued a public statement on the day of the accident, stating that the Rapicon employee had received severe trauma from his impact with the equipment.

“NOVA Chemicals Joffre Site emergency personnel responded to the incident and rescued the worker from the crane,” said Greene. “No other injuries or operational impacts have been reported in relation to this incident. We are collaborating fully with the regulatory authorities as they carry out their investigation.”

Noting that the Blackfalds RCMP had responded to the incident in addition to oh&s officials from the MOL, Greene went on to describe the day as “an extremely sad day” for NOVA.

“Our belief is that every employee and contractor must go home safely,” he said. “Today, that didn’t happen. Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and co-workers of the worker.

“As we recognize that during a difficult time like this, distractions can easily happen, we want to encourage employees to remain vigilant and look out for one another. Our first priority is always the safety of our employees, contractors and the community.”

NOVA’s Joffre site is one of the world’s largest ethylene and polyethylene production complexes, with five manufacturing facilities, according to information from the company’s website. Construction of the complex’s expansion has been underway since 2013; a world-scale polyethylene reactor and associated infrastructure are planned.