Lack of safety protocols blamed for death of Ferris wheel worker

Employee, who was given little to no training, was crushed while working on Christmas Day

Lack of safety protocols blamed for death of Ferris wheel worker

Quebec’s safety regulator, also known as the CNESST, has released the findings of its investigation into the death of Riley Jonathan Valcin, who was killed on December 25, 2021, while working at Montreal’s giant ferris wheel.

The CNESST found that Valcin had been forced to work in a dangerous part of the workplace, with little regard for safety or training.

On the day on the accident, Valcin was at the ferris wheel going about his usual tasks. It was snowing, and when the snowfall increased one of his colleagues from another department asked Valcin to clear the snow by hand from the ferris wheel’s drive wheels – while they were moving and in operation.

After receiving the instructions, the worker went to the raised platform near the drive wheels, through a gate which hadn’t been locked, and which usually serves to restrict access to the area. While he was near the mechanism, his coat got caught in one of the wheels, dragging him and crushing him between two parts of the machine.

First responders were called to the scene, and Valcin was taken to hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The CNESST investigation found two causes to explain the accident:

Firstly, that the area where Valcin had been sent to was too dangerous and should not have been accessible to the worker. Secondly, there was a lack of health and safety protocols which the CNESST says led the workers to “improvise” a dangerous work method to clear snow from the ferris wheel’s drive wheels.

Following the accident, the CNESST forbade access to the raised platform near the motors until a proper protection system was in place limited access to the dangerous work area. It also required the employer to create better safety protocols to eliminate these hazards. The employer complied.