Push for improved warehouse safety intensifies following fatal accident
The CNESST recently revealed the results of its investigation into the death of Sylvain Daoust, who was killed in a unique workplace accident on June 25, 2021, in Blainville, Quebec.
Daoust, who was the general manager of Acry-Royal inc.’s Blainville branch, was in the company’s warehouse and was working on getting a box of shower doors delivered to a client.
Acry Royal manufactures bathing products and accessories.
The box was one of four containing shower doors, each box weighing around 50kg. The boxes were laying on a pallet near Daoust.
At the time, none of the three warehouse workers were available so Daoust decided to move the first box of shower doors alone. In doing this, the other three boxes lost their balance and fell towards him.
The force generated by the four boxes knocked Daoust over, he fell on his back and his head hit the concrete floor. Emergency services were called to scene and Daoust was taken to hospital – sadly he died from his injuries a few days later.
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, found two main causes to explain the accident:
The balance of the four boxes of shower doors was deficient, and this was the reason why the general manager was pushed while he was moving one of them. He lost his balance and sustained a fatal head injury.
More general, the work method of the warehouse was deficient. The hazardous moving and handling of the boxes was the reason why Daoust found himself in a dangerous accident.
Following the accident, the CNESST barred the employer from moving and handling boxes of shower doors – laid vertically without any restraints – and demanded a new way for workers to safely handle and stabilise the boxes at all times. The employer put into place a new safe way to handle the boxes, including introducing the fact that now workers always had to work in pairs. The CNESST has re-allowed the company to handle boxes containing shower doors.
In addition, the CNESST has transmitted the conclusions of its investigation to the Association québécoise de la quincaillerie et des matériaux de construction (AQMAT) as well as partner industry groups and other related organizations. The CNESST said that it would like to underscore the importance of safe storage in warehouses.