Supervisor charged in Dartmouth construction site death of Brandon Alcorn

Brandon Alcorn, 22, died on a Dartmouth construction site in March 2018. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Police have charged a Halifax man in connection to the tragic workplace fall that took Brandon Alcorn’s life on a construction site last year.

Jeff Gooch, 37, was arrested last month and faces one count of criminal negligence causing death. He was the supervisor at the Dartmouth Crossing shopping area construction site where Alcorn fell off a roof on March 13, 2018.

Alcorn suffered irreparable brain damage and died of his injuries in the hospital. He was just 22 years old.

“Our thoughts remain with Brandon’s family and loved ones at this difficult time,” reads a statement from Halifax Regional Police, released on Wednesday.

In an emailed statement, the provincial Department of Labour confirmed it has yet to complete its own investigation into Alcorn’s death, and whether any violation of the Nova Scotia Occupational Health and Safety Act took place.

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“Our thoughts go out to the family during this difficult time,” wrote spokesperson Carley Sampson.

READ MORE: Sources identify ‘huge risk’ on Nova Scotia construction sites

Twenty-two-year-old Brandon Alcorn died after a construction site fall on May 13, 2018. His death remains under investigation. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

Earlier this year, Alcorn and his family were featured in a Global News investigation about health and safety issues in the province’s construction industry.

That series captured disturbing footage of workers at height with no fall arrest, among other safety risks, including inadequate guard rails, a lack of personal protective equipment, and trip and fall hazards.

Click to play video: 'Dartmouth family calls for more safety protocols at N.S. construction sites'
Dartmouth family calls for more safety protocols at N.S. construction sites

At the time, they urged construction workers to refuse unsafe work, no matter the career consequences, and demanded that employers double down on mitigating risks, no matter the cost.

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“Regardless of what your boss is going to think, it’s [not] going to outweigh you coming home alive every single day to your family,” said Brandon’s older brother Steve in the September interview.

“I’d say go above your boss and talk to them about what they’re getting you do to because at the end of the day, it’s your life, not theirs.”

READ MORE: ‘It’s the Wild West’ — sources say fear underlies silence on Nova Scotia construction sites

Alcorn’s stepmother, Janice Way, described him as a caring young man with a great sense of humour, a love for his cat and a newfound enthusiasm for body-building.

“If you met him, he left an impact on you,” she told Global News. “We’ve had teachers stand up at his funeral and said the impact, even though he had to be kept on track at school, [was] that he was just such a big-hearted, kind — like everybody just loved him.”
Alcorn was an organ donor and his death saved several lives, she added.
Janice Way, Brandon Alcorn’s stepmother, is urging anyone who will listen to refuse unsafe work. Elizabeth McSheffrey / Global News
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Alcorn is one of eight Nova Scotia construction workers killed on the job in the last four years, and one of about 1,000 Canadians who die at work annually.
Legislation written in response to the Westray mining disaster of 1992 allows the federal government to hold companies criminally responsible if they fail to protect their staff from injury and death. In the 15 years since the bill’s passing, however, only eight cases have brought criminal charges as a result, and few ended in convictions.
Halifax police investigators examined Alcorn’s case and determined there were grounds for a criminal charge against his supervisor.
Gooch is scheduled to appear in Halifax Provincial Court on Feb. 25 next year.

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