Federation of Labour calling for better safety regulations

A day after an accident at a worksite on the northwest edge of the city ended in the death of a steelworker, the Alberta Federation of Labour is calling safer working environments.

Gil McGowan with the Alberta Federation of Labour said the number of workplace fatalities has jumped this year, and he said changes need to be made to prevent these tragedies from occurring.

"From our perspective, the situation is not going to improve until both governments and our employers in this province start to get more serious about workplace health and safety," McGowan said.

Over a day after the tragedy, investigators with Occupational Health and Safety still aren't sure why an I-beam fell as workers were attempting to place it on a skeletal structure.

Emergency crews were called to the worksite located at 145 Avenue and 156 Street at about 3:15 Tuesday afternoon.

"For some unknown reason, the I-beam fell," Barrie Harrison with Occupational Health and Safety said. "It struck the arm of this manlift which caused the manlift to tip over,

"This worker was in the basket of the manlift and fell approximately fifty feet with the manlift."

The victim has been identified as 28-year-old Kane Thorne, he had moved to Edmonton from Newfoundland about six years ago, a member of his family told CTV News.

"He had a fiancée, her name was Jolene, she has a child," Thorne's cousion Justin Jarvis told CTV News in a phone interview. "He had a good paying job, he was happy, his parents were happy for him."

Officials investigating the incident said it's too early to find out exactly what happened Tuesday afternoon.

"We need to find out not only what happened here, but determine what needs to be done, so it doesn't happen not just on this site, but anywhere else in the province," Harrison said.

The worksite will remain closed until OHS allows work to continue.

OHS is investigating, but officials said results might not be released for several months.

CTV News Edmonton, Wed Oct 19 2011

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