A fatal collision between a gondola and a drill at Mont-Tremblant ski resort, Quebec, in July occurred in part because of incomplete procedures governing how construction equipment was to be moved on the property , concluded a labor inspector.
A Canadian soldier, Sgt. Sheldon Johnson, 50, of Kingston, Ontario, died in the collision and a woman in her 50s was seriously injured after being thrown from a tourist gondola that was struck by the mast of a platform drilling on July 16. later, an inspector from the Quebec Labor Commission banned the movement of construction equipment on the site because the risk was too high that another collision would occur.
The information is included in intervention reports obtained by The Canadian Press through a request for access to information from the Commission on Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work of Quebec (CNESST).
“Information obtained during the investigation shows that the conditions which led to the crash while moving the drill remain present on the site, elements missing from the written access procedure as well as from the communication to the parties,” a said inspector Jean-Philippe Gaudreault wrote in a July 28 report on his inspection four days earlier.
In a preliminary report completed on site on July 24, Gaudreault wrote that “there is no complete written procedure for moving construction equipment on the Mont-Tremblant Station site.” And the incomplete procedure that was in place, he said, was not known to everyone who worked at the famous ski resort.
Gaudreault ordered July 24 that before construction workers could resume moving machinery between sites, operator Station Mont Tremblant must establish clear procedures and ensure they are communicated to contractors. He also asked the station operator to “ensure that all access to the mountain is controlled and that the barriers cannot be bypa*sed by construction equipment”.
The drilling rig involved in the collision was being used as part of a project to replace an artificial snowmaking system on one of the ski slopes.
Station Mont Tremblant did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
A July 28 intervention report indicates that the resort operator submitted a mountain access policy to the labor board the day before, requiring that all requests to move construction equipment be submitted within 48 hours of advance. In addition, specifies the policy, project managers must select the route to take and a representative from Mont-Tremblant must accompany the machinery.
However, Gaudreault says there were still elements missing from the plan: there was no requirement that the machinery be accompanied by an “escortor/flagger,” and it was still not clearly prohibited to move equipment under an active ski lift.
The council lifted the ban on August 4, after receiving an updated policy including a clear procedure for moving oversized vehicles and other construction equipment into the path of a lift, a report from today said -there. Inspector Claude Langlois wrote that Station Mont Tremblant had taken steps to ensure workers were aware of the new policy.
The council says other measures in the policy prohibit anyone from moving machinery under a ski lift on weekends and holidays without special permission. The deadly July collision happened on a Sunday.
Inspection reports show that the windshield of the drilling rig, owned by the company Forage M2P, was cracked at the time of the collision, possibly limiting the operator’s vision. In addition, the platform’s horn was broken, preventing the driver from alerting pa*sers-by. The council ordered that both issued documents be corrected.
Forage M2P did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.
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