One worker killed and another injured in renovation accident
Michel Gosselin, a bricklayer and mason, and owner of the firm Maçonnerie Michel Gosselin inc., was fatally injured in an accident on August 12, 2020, in Quebec City. The incident also led to another worker getting badly injured.
On the day of the accident, Gosselin and his employee were working on a scaffolding repairing the wall on a four-storey residential building. Around 4.15pm, the workers had reached the building’s third floor.
Gosselin and the other work were on the decking of the scaffolding, which was made up of two wooden planks. While they were standing in the centre of the deck, the wooden planks broke. Both men fell around 5.73 metres (over 16 feet) to the ground. Gosselin was fatally injured in the fall, while the other worker sustained serious injuries.
Following an investigation by the Commission des normes, de l'équité, de la santé et de la sécurité du travail (CNESST), the organization which administers Quebec’s occupational health and safety plan, two causes of the accident were revealed:
Firstly, the wooden planks used for the scaffolding decking were not strong enough to support the weight of both workers, leading to the deadly fall. Secondly, though working at heights, the planning of the renovation work was not thorough enough, leading to the firm using inappropriate wooden planks for the deck.
After the accident, the CNESST forbade the firm from modifying, dismantling or using the scaffolding’s metal frame. Then, the CNESST worked with the owner of the building to ensure that the renovation work would be safely completed by another firm, as Maçonnerie Michel Gosselin inc. was no longer in operation due to Gosselin’s death.