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Accident claims life of contractor, 30, on Maritime energy project

Service N.L. investigating fatality


(Canadian OH&S News) — Friends and colleagues are in mourning for a Stephenville, N.L. man who died in an industrial accident at the Maritime Link Project near Stephenville Crossing on the afternoon of Jan. 16.

Phil Parsons, 30, was employed by energy company Emera Newfoundland & Labrador as a contractor at the project’s Indian Head Grounding Site in western Newfoundland. Officers from the RCMP’s Bay St. George detachment were called to the worksite at about 3:30 p.m. that day and stayed overnight, according to a news release from the Newfoundland and Labrador RCMP.

“The details I have are very basic,” said RCMP media-relations officer Cpl. Trevor O’Keefe. He added that the investigation of the incident had been turned over to Service N.L., the provincial government entity in charge of occupational health and safety. “There’s nothing criminal on our part, so our job is done, and it’s starting over with them,” said Cpl. O’Keefe.

A spokesperson with Service N.L. confirmed that the department’s investigation was underway, but could not provide any further information about the incident.

Jeff Myrick, Emera’s senior manager of communications and public affairs, said in an e-mailed response to COHSN that the company’s thoughts were with Parson’s family. “We will continue to look to support them through this very difficult time,” he said.

“All transmission-line stringing and overhead work continues to be on hold until the investigation into the Indian Head incident has been completed,” added Myrick. “We will take the necessary time required to fully understand what happened.

“Workplace safety continues to be our highest priority and is more important than any other business interest, especially at this difficult time.”

The Maritime Link Project is a strategy to meet the eastern provinces’ demand for renewable energy, according to information from Emera’s website. Through a subsidiary, NSP Maritime Link Inc., the company is constructing an infrastructure to transmit hydro electricity from Muskrat Falls, Labrador to St. John’s and all the way to Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.