Apprentice carpenter killed after ice chunk crashes at Claridge Icon site

Oliver bruneau (from facebook)

Oliver Bruneau, a 25-year-old apprentice carpenter, died on March 23 when a chuck of ice fell on him while he was working in a construction pit on the Claridge Icon site at 505 Preston St.

While Bruneau was conscious when paramedics arrived, he lost consciousness and then vital signs as they lifted him out.

He was killed by a 12-metre slab of ice when it slid off the wall and crashed to the bottom of the pit.

Bruneau was employed as an apprentice carpenter by Bellai Brothers Construction Ltd.

CBC reported that there was an earlier incident on Feb. 5 when a different construction worker was hit by ice at the same site.

The worker in that incident was not critically injured.

The Ministry of Labour issued three orders to Claridge following an early investigation into Bruneau’s death, CBC reported.

These include:

  • Ensure walls of an excavation shall be stripped of loose rock or other material that may slide, roll, or fall upon a worker.
  • Submit a plan for review by the Ministry of Labour as to how the constructor shall remove ice buildup on the walls of the excavation before workers enter the excavation on the lower level of the project.
  • Provide documentation regarding site plan and safety talks relating to falling ice.

Another six orders were issued to Bellai Brothers Construction Ltd.:

  • Provide documentation regarding the employment of the deceased worker.
  • Ensure all equipment is used in accordance with operating manuals issued by manufacturer.
  • Ensure precautions are used to prevent a worker from falling, i.e., a guardrail system.
  • Ensure precautions are used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface. A protective covering that completely covers the opening shall be securely fastened and identified.
  • Place a ladder on a firm footing.
  • Ensure that no productive work takes place until all orders have been complied with.

The Ministry of Labour also issued an order to sub-contractor ABF Armatures Bois Franc Inc. to “provide documentation regarding safety meetings related to ice and small stone fragments falling from excavation walls,” CBC reported.

Bruneau’s union, Carpenters Union Local 93, and the Carpenters’ District Council of Ontario issued a statement saying they are united in mourning his death.

“Olivier Bruneau was a committed, dedicated and accomplished carpenter-apprentice as well as a valued member of the Carpenters’ Union Local 93,” the statement said. “It is incomprehensible that at just 25 years of age such a tragic and avoidable workplace incident robbed the life of Brother Bruneau. “He will be remembered and missed by many.”

“It is with heavy hearts that we give our full support and extend condolences to Brother Olivier Bruneau’s family during this profoundly devastating time. In memory of our lost Brother, provisions will be set to honour his life and assist his grieving family.”

Claridge Homes also issued a statement expressing its condolences, saying it is “deeply saddened by the tragic events that took place at the Preston Street construction site,” the statement said.

“Olivier Bruneau was a well-liked and hard working young man who will be missed. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and loved ones. We will be cooperating with the Ministry of Labour throughout this process.”

The investigation continues.


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