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N.S. Labour Department investigating after construction worker is impaled by uncapped rebar

N.S. department of labour investigating incident at construction site
The department of labour is investigating after a worker was impaled on a construction site Monday afternoon. As Elizabeth McSheffrey reports, the man’s injuries are non-life threatening.

Nova Scotia’s Department of Labour is investigating a construction site in Bedford after a worker was impaled by uncapped rebar Monday afternoon.

According to the site’s owner, he slipped on ice on the top floor of the development at 370 Gary Martin Drive, then fell onto the metal reinforcement bar and suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

“He went to the hospital, they checked it, everything is fine. He went home around 10 p.m.,” said Ioannis Paliatsos, owner of Kivotos Developments Ltd.

“I think (the injury) was around the leg, the back.”

The incident took place around 3 p.m.

Ioannis Paliatsos is the owner of Kivotos Developments Ltd., which operates the construction site at 370 Gary Martin Drive.
Ioannis Paliatsos is the owner of Kivotos Developments Ltd., which operates the construction site at 370 Gary Martin Drive. Elizabeth McSheffrey/Global News

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

Both Halifax Regional Police and the Department of Labour confirmed they were notified of, and responded to the incident, although neither would elaborate on the details of what took place.

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Police said the worker who was hurt was 37 years old and treated by Emergency Health Services, but directed further inquiries to the Department of Labour. Labour spokesperson Shannon Kerr said she couldn’t disclose the worker’s medical condition, but an investigation is underway.

“A stop-work order was issued in the area where the incident occurred and remains in effect,” she wrote in an email.

“Where our inspection into this incident is ongoing, we are respectfully declining your request for an interview.”

Around 11 a.m. on Tuesday morning, construction work had resumed at the site, but Kerr clarified that a stop work order only applies to the area where the incident occurred — not the entire site.

She confirmed that the site was previously flagged by the department for an incident last summer. On June 27, 2019, an explosive charge failed to detonate.

“Under our regulations, employers are required to report such misfires to the department, however no injuries were sustained as a result.”

Construction workers continue to speak out on why safety violations occur
Construction workers continue to speak out on why safety violations occur

According to a 2014 news update from Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health and Safety Division (OHS), the province has investigated rebar incidents in the past. The news update stressed the importance of using caution when working around rebar.

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“Unless the risk of impalement is eliminated then workers should not be allowed to work above rebar sticks,” reads the document.

READ MORE: N.S. issues warnings, creates new safety initiative after Global News construction investigation

It identifies bending rebar, covering rebar ends by boards, and using caps as methods that can prevent rebar puncture wounds.

The province’s OHS Division stopped issuing annual reports on its activities, including inspections and orders issued, in 2013-2014 due to “little uptake in the document,” although convictions are still published online.

Uncapped rebar is one of several safety issues highlighted in a Global News investigation last summer on construction safety issues in the Halifax area.