CSST blames racing group for Grand Prix death
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 2:45PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 6, 2013 7:42PM EST
The workers’ health and safety board (CSST) has a litany of criticism for the events that led to the death of a volunteer during the Grand Prix race in Montreal earlier this year.
On June 9, 2013 Mark Robinson, a 38-year-old race volunteer, was crushed and killed by a crane carrying a race car.
Towards the end of the race one of the cars broke down and could no longer move on its own. As the race ended the crew hoisted the car on a crane, and then started moving the vehicle toward the pits as fans were coming onto the track.
Robinson was running beside the crane, helping to keep the race car balanced, when he dropped his radio and bent down to pick it up. The crane operator didn't see him and ran over him, inflicting injuries that led to his death.
The CSST report identifies multiple errors that created unsafe conditions.
“There’s not one specific contributing factor,” said the CSST’s Marie-France Vermette. “There are many.”
Those identified include:
• The crane was moving at 11 km/h while carrying the car, which was much too fast
• The race car was held nearly 2 m off the ground, when it should have been just 30 cm off the track
• The crew and volunteers were not trained to move cars.
Vermette noted that the event’s promoters say that the crew was rushing because fans had started to flood onto the track, and they didn’t want spectators to touch the car.
In the wake of Robinson's death the CSST has ordered a ban on using forklifts, cranes and other hoists from transporting vehicles on the Gilles Villeneuve racetrack.
When vehicles or any heavy load are moved they should be properly balanced by the hoist, and not rely on people to keep them in place.
The agency also says all heavy machinery operators should be properly trained in their use, and that cranes should have a speed limit sign attached as a reminder.
The CSST is placing the blame on race organizers, and has said it will fine the Octane and Automobile Club an amount between $16,000 and $63,000.
But, Grand Prix promoter Francois Dumontier said that the operation wasn’t done differently in Montreal than normally would have been anywhere else.
“I feel bad, I feel shocked,” he said. “We did that operation probably a hundred times over the years -- going to get a car off the track with safety, nothing happened .”
Either way, the F1 organizers say they will be implement all of the safety recommendations.