Nova Scotia decides to release information to widow of Martin Marietta workplace accident victim
Health & Safety nova scotia workplace fatality
By Lois Ann Dort, Gusborough Journal
On July 11, 2022, a workplace accident at the Martin Marietta Porcupine Mountain Quarry in Mulgrave took the life of Kevin Laing. The details surrounding the incident were investigated by the Nova Scotia Department of Labour, which found the employer was not at fault.
On March 21, The Journal learned that all information regarding the fatal accident wasn’t made available to Laing’s widow, Tammy Laing.
“We share as much information as possible with the next of kin,” a department spokesperson wrote in an email to The Journal on March 22. “The department met with the victim’s family directly to discuss the findings of its investigation into the incident that occurred at the Martin Marietta in Aulds Cove on July 11, 2022. Based on the Occupational Health and Safety Act, all legislative training, maintenance and other safety requirements were met or exceeded. As a result, no charges were laid related to this incident,” the statement read.
Speaking to the withholding of information from Laing pertaining to the investigation, the email said, “The investigation included a comprehensive third-party analysis of the equipment involved in the accident and an examination of the key elements included in the employer’s safety program. It was determined that an accidental fire occurred in a wheel loader which resulted in the fatality of the operator. Investigation files contain sensitive information, such as third-party reports, and personal interviews. These are only released through FOIPOP, a formal process that balances an individual’s right to know and an individual’s right to privacy.”
Tammy Laing provided the following statement to The Journal regarding this lack of transparency on March 23: “The findings of the labour board investigation were that the loader was maintained properly and no fines or charges would be levied. What I don’t understand is that if it were maintained how would it catch on fire? If a machine that is well maintained can do that, why would any worker want to operate it? And if this was a possibility, why aren’t respirators mandatory? The Labour Board had said that they were not.”
In the intervening days since Laing made that statement, the department has agreed to give her access to the reports related to the investigation.
Trevor Boudreau, MLA for Richmond, who represents the riding where Laing resides, spoke to The Journal on March 27. He said, “I have deep sympathy for the family. Whenever there is something like this that happens, it’s awful for the family and I believe that families deserve to have the access to information to understand what happened.”
Boudreau added, “My understanding is now there’s somebody in the department working with her to get her all the information she needs. I talked with Tammy again on Saturday (March 25) and she feels like she’s going to get what she needs.”
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