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Rash of construction worker injuries hits Alberta jobsites

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Construction workers have been seriously injured in an unrelated series of incidents that occurred across Alberta over the span of a week.

Construction workers have been seriously injured in an unrelated series of incidents that occurred across Alberta over the span of a week.

These injuries included electrocution, broken bones, and the amputation of an arm.

The first incident happened on Dec. 4 during the renovation of a Target Store in Calgary, where two workers were replacing a 50 amp barrel fuse on an 800 amp switch gear electrical panel.

“An arc flash occurred, injuring both workers, who suffered burns to their hands and faces,” said Brookes Merritt, spokesperson for Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.

“They were conscious and walking around after the incident, but were immediately transported to Foot Hills Hospital.”

The two men are employed by two separate companies, Concept Group Ltd. and Shindler Elevator Corp.

The prime contractor is Graham Construction. A stop work order was issued on the electrical panel.

In the next incident on Dec. 3 three workers were moving an 880 pound steel stairwell with the use of two dollies at the construction site of the Clareview Community Recreation Centre in Edmonton.

“They were trying to roll the structure over a lip of plywood on the floor, when the structure bounced up a bit and the front dolly flipped over,” said Merritt.

“The stairwell came down on one of the workers legs, fracturing his left femur.”

The 20 year-old worker is an employee at Norfab Manufacturing Inc. and the prime contractor at the site is Clark Builders.

A stop-work order was issued on moving the stairwell pending investigation.

In another incident on Dec. 1 in Edmonton, a female worker had just finished applying roofing material and was going down a ladder.

“She was three to four meters above the ground, when the ladder fell, causing the worker to fall and break both legs,” said Merritt.

The worker is employed by Joe Roofer Ltd. and the prime contractor is Reid Built Homes.

A stop work order was issued for any additional roofing.

On the same day at Mixcor Aggregates near Hobbema, a 26-year old ground maintenance worker was performing work on a gravel crusher.

“He was attempting to dislodge sand that had built up between the conveyor belt and a pulley,” said Merritt.

“He was heating up the pulley with a propane torch, when the torch got caught in the pulley. His left arm was pulled into the machine and crushed. The arm was later amputated above the elbow at University Hospital Alberta.”

A stop work order was issued for the gravel crusher.

A construction crew was pouring the foundation of an unfinished basement on Nov. 27 in Calgary, when one of the workers lost his footing while climbing a ladder. As a result, he fell about three metres into the unfinished basement.

The Calgary Fire Department responded to reports of an injured construction worker.

When they arrived, the worker was loaded into a stokes stretcher, which is designed for vertical and horizontal rope rescues and, utilizing a ladder truck as a high point, were able to remove the patient from the hole.

The patient was turned over to Emergency Medical Services for treatment and taken to hospital in stable non-life threatening condition.

In the final incident, also on Nov. 27, a 27-year-old male was framing a two-storey structure in Edmonton.

“The worker was raising a wall over a stairwell opening, when he stepped into the opening and fell 25 feet to the basement,” said Merritt.

“He sustained multiple fractures.”

The man is employed by FM Framing and the prime contractor is Brookfield Residential.

by Richard Gilbert

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