Alberta records 8th workplace death in 6 weeks

EDMONTON – Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is investigating the latest in a string of workplace fatalities in the province.

The most recent case happened Monday afternoon in a wooded area between Athabasca and Smith in northern Alberta. OHS spokesperson Brookes Merritt says a male worker, between the ages of 35 and 40, was using equipment to load logs when part of the load fell on him and killed him.

Since Nov. 1, there have been seven other workplace deaths around the province:

  • Nov. 18: James Ladino, 40, from Edmonton died after being struck with a piece of machinery while working on a sewer line in Calgary.
  • Nov. 20: A 60-year-old man was killed Nov. 20, also in Calgary, when a concrete wall he was working on fell and crushed him.
  • Nov. 21: A 42-year-old man died after falling roughly 16 feet from a ladder at a construction site Nov. 21 in St. Albert.
  • Nov. 25: A man in his 40s was crushed on a job site east of Calgary, near Carseland, on Nov. 25.
  • Dec. 2: A 45-year-old Edmonton man was in a bobcat when the bucket came down and crushed him. He was working for SPAR-Marathon Roofing.
  • Dec. 4: A man in his 20s died after falling more than 20 feet off a roof while shovelling snow for a roofing company in Claremont.
  • Dec. 5: A man working at the Canadian National Resource Limited Horizon site was killed in a collision (which OHS does not normally count in its tally of workplace fatalities).

Merritt stressed that while it’s unusual to see such a high number of fatalities in a short time, 2014 is on par with the past three years, when the number of deaths was in the 40-to-50 range.

The fatality rate is actually decreasing, he said, explaining that though Alberta has more workers, the number of deaths has not risen.

Merritt said OHS data show some industries are more dangerous than others, such as construction, trucking and mining.

“We pay special attention to them,” with inspection programs, enforcement and education, he added.

OHS has hired 30 more officers across Alberta in the past three years, to bring the total to 140.

With files from Kerry Powell, Global News

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© Shaw Media, 2014

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