A “dangerous working method”, an instruction manual only in English… A dozen breaches of the law were noted by the authorities at the Grande Roue de Montréal following the tragic death of a worker last December .
Posted at 5:00 a.m.
A series of reports completed by inspectors from the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) following the tragedy that occurred on December 25 and made public after a request for access to the news opens a window into the disturbing circumstances that led to the death of 22-year-old Riley Valcin.
A garment of the victim got caught in a gear of the attraction, had entrusted a source close to the file to The Press in the wake of the sad event. The responsible operator would not have been aware that the employee was busy de-icing the ride. People were on board at the time, according to witnesses.
The young man was dragged and then trapped between a motorized wheel and the circular metal frame of the Ferris Wheel, which caused him fatal injuries to his forehead and abdomen, specifies the CNESST in a report completed following a visit by its inspectors on December 25, 2021 and recently made public.
“Dangerous way of working”
Several visits made by CNESST investigators in the months that followed today reveal numerous breaches of the Occupational Health and Safety Act on the site of the Grande Roue de Montréal at the time of the tragedy, we learn.
Thus, a “dangerous working method was improvised on the day of the accident to clear snow from the structures of the Ferris wheel during its operation”, underline the inspectors in their reports.
The latter have also forced the company to develop procedures “to specify to workers the instructions and steps to follow in the event of the presence of snow or ice or difficult weather conditions”, which was not clearly established before. .
What’s more, the “danger zone” where the accident allegedly occurred, a raised platform, was only blocked by a door 1.1 meters high, an easy height to cross. “No one was to access the raised platforms while the Ferris wheel was in operation. However, the materialization of the accident demonstrates the ineffectiveness of the administrative measures in place”, underlines the CNESST.
Not to mention the many barriers to learning for operators, many of whom had never read the ride’s operation and maintenance manual; the only copy of this document was then in English and was in an administrative building.
The most recent report obtained under the access to information law, dated April 12, reports on the corrective measures taken by those responsible for the Ferris Wheel, which is in its fifth year of operation since its inauguration. on the occasion of the 375and Montreal’s birthday.
Of the ten deficiencies raised by the investigators in their reports, only two had still not been corrected. Thus, “the Ferris wheel is still not fitted with a protector or a protective device that completely isolates direct access to the danger zone,” the inspectors point out.
In addition, “the employer has failed to adequately inform workers of the risks associated with their work and does not provide them with the appropriate education, training and supervision to ensure that workers have the skills and the knowledge required to safely perform the work entrusted to them,” notes the CNESST.
All measurements integrated
Asked whether these situations had finally been corrected, a spokesperson for La Grande Roue said on Wednesday that “all additional security measures to guarantee the safety of all visitors and employees on the site” had been integrated.
The company did not wish to comment on the origin of the problems which led to the death of Riley Valcin, specifying however that the Ferris Wheel had been officially certified by the Régie du bâtiment before the accident.
“We are still awaiting the conclusion of the final report [de la CNESST] at present. We are working closely with CNESST inspectors, with the common goal of ensuring the protection of everyone’s health and safety,” said spokesperson Lawrence Esso.
Grieved recently by another tragedy, the death of their father in a plane crash in Haiti, Riley Valcin’s brother, Joey, said Wednesday that he preferred to focus on the upcoming funeral on May 28.
With the collaboration of William Leclerc, The Press
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Fatal accident at the Montreal Ferris Wheel | A dozen shortcomings noted by the CNESST
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