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Welder falls to death at TransCanada project site in Alberta

Contractor, 29, fell about 20 metres from scaffolding


(Canadian OH&S News) — A worker has died at a TransCanada pipeline construction site in northern Alberta, after falling about 20 metres from scaffolding on the morning of March 21.

The 29-year-old welder, who was a contracted employee of Horton CBI Limited, was working on some scaffolding at about 10:45 a.m. when the accident occurred, according to information from the occupational health and safety department (OHS) of the Alberta Ministry of Labour (MOL).

“OHS is investigating, and there’s a stop-work order in place,” said Lauren Welsh, a communications representative with the MOL.

Welsh could not confirm whether the deceased worker was wearing fall-protection gear at the time of the incident, noting that the MOL investigation would look into the causes and whether the tragedy could have been prevented.

The Wood Buffalo RCMP also attended the scene of the accident, but did not respond to COHSN’s request for comment. Media reports have stated that the RCMP ruled out foul play.

The worksite, where a new tank terminal is under construction for TransCanada’s Northern Courier Pipeline Project, is located approximately 100 kilometres north of Fort McMurray.

“We are deeply saddened by this, and our first thoughts are with the family of the worker as well as his employer, Horton CBI, the prime contractor for the project,” Mark Cooper, the senior lead of media relations for TransCanada, said in an e-mail to COHSN.

Cooper added that TransCanada had temporarily suspended work at the site in order to allow all employees to deal with the tragedy.

“There is nothing more important to TransCanada than ensuring the safety and security of workers and contractors,” he continued, noting that the corporation would offer any assistance needed by both OHS officials and Horton CBI in their investigations.

“All [lessons] from this tragedy will be applied to help further protect workers and keep worksites safe,” said Cooper.

Headquartered in Calgary, Horton CBI is a Canadian subsidiary of CB&I, an infrastructure corporation specializing in field construction of engineered plate metal structures, according to information from the federal government. Horton CBI has worked for the Canadian petrochemical, pulp and paper and public sectors for about 100 years.

The Northern Courier Pipeline Project involves the construction of an Alberta pipeline system that will transport bitumen and diluent products between the Fort Hills Mine and Bitumen Extraction Facility and Suncor’s East Tank Farm, a distance of about 90 kilometres, according to TransCanada’s website.