CSST fines construction companies for teacher killed by falling slab
Published Tuesday, February 18, 2014 12:29PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, February 19, 2014 8:04AM EST
The Workers' Health and Safety Board (CSST) is blaming a lack of safety training for the death of an innocent bystander killed in a construction site accident.
Saad Syed, 32, was walking on Mountain St. near Rene Levesque Blvd. on Aug. 5, 2013, when a steel slab was being dragged from one location to another.
The slab, measuring 2.5 metres by 6 metres, weighed about three tonnes and was being held by a chain and hook as a crew using heavy machinery moved the item.
While the slab was being dragged the slab fell off a hook and toppled onto a fence, crushing Syed as he walked on the sidewalk.
Syed was knocked unconscious by the blow and was rushed to hospital where he died within the hour.
The CSST noted that the hook did not have a safety latch that might have kept the slab in place, but said ultimately the responsibility fell onto the two companies involved: Pomerleau and Excavation L. Martel.
"Safety on the site was not properly planned," said Jean-Francois Beaudry of the CSST.
"There was a prevention program that was supposed to be applied on the construction site but was not. Foremen and workers were not trained to make sure this accident could not happen."
The two companies have each been fined somewhere between $15,600 and $63,000. They have 30 days to contest the findings of the CSST.
“Pomerleau Inc is the general contractor, who is supposed to make sure everything is safe on his construction site and the employer, Excavation L Martel, who is supposed to make sure his workers are trained and have the right materials,” said Beaudry.
In a phone interview, Martel Excavation said it had no comment on the report, adding that they felt it was an unfortunate accident, and that they always strive to have secure worksites and have since made an effort to improve safety.
They also said their thoughts are with Syed’s family.
Syed’s childhood friend Sameer Zuberi said the fines are appropriate, but not enough.
“They are at fault and as a result, they owe his family financial compensation. There's no question about that. He was a young man, 32, his life was snuffed out really early,” he said.
Saad Syed, as seen in a staff photo courtesy GEOS Language Academy