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Worker dies in four-storey fall at Fredericton construction site

Foreman falls 12.5 metres during construction of hotel


(Canadian OH&S News) — A foreman is dead after a fall at a construction site in Fredericton on Jan. 30.

The accident happened at about 9:30 a.m. that day at the construction site of the city’s new Hilton Garden Inn, according to Manon Arsenault, director of communications with WorkSafeNB, who identified the victim’s name as Steven Lutes.

“Mr. Lutes fell approximately 12.5 metres from the fourth storey of the building,” said Arsenault in an e-mailed response. “As the accident continues to be investigated, no further details can be released.

“WorkSafeNB sends its condolences to Mr. Lutes’ family, friends and co-workers.”

Lutes, a resident of the community of Upper Coverdale, was born in 1975 and employed by LEAD Structural Formwork in Moncton, according to his online obituary. The contractor for the hotel’s construction is J.W. Lindsay Construction, which is headquartered in Halifax, but has a Moncton branch.

“It really hit us all hard here,” said Lindsay president Cory Bell. “Anytime — regardless of a sector, construction or not — an incident in the workplace involves a death can be really difficult on not just the co-workers that are there, but all of our employees.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends and co-workers,” he added. “We really hope the best for all of them.”

Lindsay has a crisis counselling hotline, which it activated immediately after the tragedy. “Within a couple of hours, we had onsite counselling available for anybody, any workers and employees that were in close proximity to the worksite when it happened,” said Bell. “And we left that there for as long as it needed to be. We offered counselling outside of that as well for any staff that maybe were not there.”

Although WorkSafeNB has been investigating, it did not issue any order to halt work or shut down the worksite, according to Bell, who said that safety was Lindsay’s top priority as an employer. “We take it very seriously,” he noted.

“We have an ISO-registered quality- and safety-management system in place, so we have safety at the highest standards. We’re always committed to meet or achieve any of the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and all the regulations.”

Bell added that the company does enforce the use of fall-protection equipment for employees who work at heights, but could not confirm whether or not Lutes had been wearing fall-arrest gear at the time of the accident. “It would just be speculation,” he said.

Lutes left behind a wife and two children, according to the obituary, which described him as “an avid baseball fan.” His funeral was held at Cobb’s Funeral Home and Cremation Center in Riverview, N.B. on Feb. 3.