Saanich construction worker’s 2017 death lands employer nearly $8,000 fine
The death of a Saanich construction worker in a workplace accident in 2017 has landed his employer a major fine from WorkSafeBC.
Roland Huetzelmann, a 51-year-old worker, died after falling from the third floor of an under-construction condo building on Jan. 10, 2017.
The fine levied against Huetzelmann’s employer, Cedar Grove Framing Corp., was mentioned in a section of the May/June 2019 edition of WorkSafe Magazine released last month, which does not name the worker killed in the accident.
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According to the notice, the worker was installing a plywood subfloor on the fourth storey of the development when a gust of wind lifted the plywood sheet.
“The worker grabbed the plywood and was subsequently pushed to the edge of the building and then against a perimeter guardrail,” the report says.
The guardrail broke, and Huetzelmann fell nearly 10 metres to the ground below.
The sequence of events matches the description of the accident given by Huetzelmann’s girlfriend Corinne Desjarlais and WorkSafeBC at the time of the accident.
“He was screaming for help and landed on the concrete, had severe head trauma,” Desjarlais said shortly after the accident. “He had a broken shoulder, multiple [broken] ribs. His pelvis was shattered. His spine was shattered.”
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Huetzelmann died in hospital five days later, the BC Coroners Service confirmed.
WorkSafeBC said its investigation found the shorter guardrail sections “had not been installed to connect the portion that failed to the remaining guardrail system.”
Cedar Grove Framing Corp. also failed to ensure the guardrails were constructed to regulations, and did not have other forms of fall protection at the site.
WorkSafeBC called both violations “high risk” in the notice of the fine, which was levied on Dec. 6, 2018.
The owner of Cedar Grove Framing declined to comment on the fine when contacted by Global News Saturday.
Desjarlais could not be reached for comment. She has fought for changes to workplace safety rules, including mandatory tethers and site closures for workers during extreme weather.
— With files from Neetu Garcha
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