OHS Canada Magazine

Worker found dead at site of school demolition in Nova Scotia

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May 31, 2016
By Jeff Cottrill

Compliance & Enforcement Health & Safety Construction fatality Health and Wellness nova scotia ns occupational health and safety yarmouth

Medical examiner says man died of natural causes

(Canadian OH&S News) — An employee at a demolition site in Yarmouth, N.S. was found deceased beside an excavator on May 25. Although a preliminary medical report stated that the worker had died of natural causes, occupational health and safety authorities are currently investigating the incident as a possible workplace fatality.

According to information from the Nova Scotia Department of Labour and Advanced Education, the incident occurred at the site of a former school at 49 Parade Street. The local RCMP and emergency services attended the scene, as did oh&s investigators from the Department.

The medical examiner issued a preliminary report stating natural causes as the likely reason for the fatality, but more specific information was not available.

“It did happen at a workplace,” said Tracy Barron, a spokesperson with the Department. “The Department of Labour did go in and investigate and issued a stop-work order.”

Barron added that the worksite was operational again as of May 26, but the stop-work order was still in effect “on a piece of heavy equipment not related to this incident.”


The Department of Labour issued a press statement on the afternoon of May 26, calling the tragedy “very sad news” and offering its condolences to the victim’s family and loved ones.

“Our occupational health and safety division continues to investigate,” the statement added.

Local media reports have stated that the incident occurred at the demolition site of the former Yarmouth Junior High School, but Barron could not confirm the school’s name to COHSN. The school’s website currently lists its address as 40 Parade Street.

Yarmouth Junior High School’s former building will be replaced by the new Yarmouth Elementary School, according to a May 21, 2015 announcement from the province’s Department of Education and Early Childhood Development.


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