OHS Canada Magazine

Construction worker dies in sewer trench collapse

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May 5, 2015
By Jeff Cottrill

Health & Safety Construction Edmonton Workplace accident -- fatality

55-year-old worker dead after accident at Edmonton construction site

(Canadian OH&S News) — Alberta’s occupational health and safety authorities are investigating an April 28 fatality in Edmonton, where the collapse of a sewer trench buried a male construction worker under a few metres of clay and dirt.

The 55-year-old man was digging the trench with a backhoe operator at a construction site near 107th Avenue and 124th Street, according to information from the provincial Ministry of Jobs, Skills, Training and Labour. The trench collapsed upon him just before 5:00 p.m., and he remained buried for several hours as emergency services arrived at the scene to extricate him.

“The victim was extricated in the early hours of the following morning, and he was deceased,” said Brookes Merritt, media rep with the Ministry. Merritt confirmed that the worker’s body had been extricated at about 2:30 a.m. on the 29th.

After the man was pronounced dead at the scene, oh&s investigators took over the investigation.

The worker, whose name has not been released, had been hired for the construction project via the Bissell Centre Temporary Labour Agency, an Edmonton agency that connects workers with companies that have registered with it. “It is tragic what happened to the individual, and our thoughts are with his family and friends,” Bissell media representative Darren Brennan told COHSN.


“Our sincere condolences go out to the friends and family of the individual who lost his life in the workplace accident in Westmount yesterday,” Bissell CEO Mark Holmgren said in a press statement on April 29. “We are also heartened by the outpouring of care and concern from communities in the wake of what has happened.”

Holmgren added that Bissell would share more information about the incident when it knew more. “We are still awaiting the official identity of the individual.”

This was the second workplace burial accident to occur in Edmonton in less than a week, both of which resulted in fatalities. On April 22, a 37-year-old male City employee was hospitalized in critical condition after a dump truck spilled sand and gravel sweepings onto him at an industrial park.

Merritt confirmed that the victim of the earlier accident had passed away on April 28, the same day on which the latter incident had occurred.


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