Construction worker who fell to his death was 'rushed', 'pressured' before incident, says co-worker

'Everything was rushed, rushed. And if you're rushed, you're going to make mistakes,' says co-worker

Construction worker who fell to his death was 'rushed', 'pressured' before incident, says co-worker

The pressure of getting the job done quickly may have led Steven Lutes to fall to his death right at the worksite on Jan. 30, 2017, a co-worker claimed during the inquest proceedings about the incident.

Lutes died from injuries he sustained after a fall from the fourth storey of the then-unfinished Hilton Garden Inn on Queen Street. Lutes had fall prevention training and was wearing proper gear, according to a court hearing. However, Lutes’ safety harness was not secured and a temporary guardrail had been removed, and therefore there was nothing to prevent his fall when he lost his balance.

Michael Goodwin, a worker who was present that day, said it was quite an unsafe work site, according to a CBC report.

"Everything was rushed, rushed," said Goodwin on June 27. "And if you're rushed, you're going to make mistakes."

Previously, Joel Gardner, who described himself as a right-hand man of Lutes, claimed the same thing.

"All I've seen is hurry on that site," said Gardner in a recorded statement that was given to WorkSafeNB investigators the day after the fatal accident.

Garder was working on the fifth floor, "eight feet above" Lutes as the two were trying to move concrete forms into position on the morning of Jan. 30, 2017. He also said that having another worker by Lutes’s side could have prevented the incident.

"If somebody had been standing next to him, he could have been warned that he was getting too close to the edge.”

Gardner also claimed that Lutes “was always tired”.

"He was driving from Moncton and had two young kids,” he said.

"There was a lot of pressure on Steve. "I blame it all on being short-handed on guys," he said.

Earlier, the five-member jury at the coroner's inquest in New Brunswick looking into Lutes’s death determined that all higher-risk workplaces should require safety supervisors dedicated to on-site safety compliance.

Previously, Coast Roofing Ltd., Dogtooth Log and Timber Ltd., Big Guns Roofing Ltd., Rai Star Custom Homes Ltd., Lalli Development (2011) Ltd., 0568677 British Columbia Ltd., Kalan Constructions Ltd. and Rainbow Siding Ltd. were also fined for fall protection violations in the workplace.