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Skid-steer accident claims Alberta construction worker, 38

Victim found dead of crush injuries


(Canadian OH&S News) — A construction accident with a skid-steer machine claimed the life of a 38-year-old male worker in Stony Plain, Alta. on the afternoon of Sept. 25.

The fatality happened at a housing development, according to Trent Bancarz, a spokesperson with Alberta Labour. The worker was killed by unexplained crush injuries while operating the skid steer, a type of small utility tractor.

“We really don’t know exactly what happened, because there were no actual eyewitnesses to it. Somehow, whatever he was doing, he suffered crush injuries, which were fatal,” explained Bancarz. “It’s the condition he was found in.”

He added that the victim had been an employee of Sparling Concrete, a construction and design company based in Stony Plain. “I’m not even sure exactly his relationship to the project, whether he was a contractor or a sub,” said Bancarz. “That’s another thing we’re sort of looking into right now.”

The incident occurred at about 1:15 p.m. that day, said Corporal Ron Bumbry, a media-relations officer with the Alberta RCMP. Cpl. Bumbry confirmed the victim’s age and said that he had been a resident of Stony Plain, but could not provide much more information.

“There was nothing suspicious or criminal in nature for us to report,” said Cpl. Bumbry, noting that the occupational health and safety division of Alberta Labour had taken over the investigation.

Sparling Concrete did not respond to COHSN’s request for comment.

“Our investigation continues,” said Bancarz.

Founded in 2007, Sparling Concrete provides concrete-based construction and furniture-design services for private and commercial clients in Edmonton, Stony Plain and Spruce Grove, according to information from the company’s website.

While the causes of the fatality are still to be determined, the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety in Hamilton, Ont. offers the following tips on operating loaders, including skid steers, on its website:

— Read and follow all safety instructions in the loader’s operating manual;
— Stay alert at all times during operation;
— Keep the bucket and attachments as close to the ground as possible, to keep the vehicle stable and the view clear;
— Always load the bucket evenly and under its maximum capacity;
— Avoid holes, rocks and other obstructions;
— Never operate a loader when ill, tired or on medication that causes drowsiness;
— Avoid using any loader with a cab that does not have rollover and falling-object protection;
— Always remain inside the cab while operating steering levers and hydraulic controls;
— Never leave the loader with the engine running or with the lift arms raised; and
— Always keep the heavy end of the vehicle pointing towards the higher end when operating on a slope.