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May 16, 2019

Company fined $50K in worker’s death at Fredericton hotel construction site



As reported on CBC News, a construction company has been fined $50,000 in connection with the death of a worker at the Hilton Garden Inn construction site in Fredericton two years ago.

Steven Lutes, a foreman for Lead Structural Formwork Ltd., fell about four storeys (12.5 metres or 41 feet) to his death on Jan. 30, 2017.

Lutes, 42, of Upper Coverdale, was a married father of two.

Lead Structural Formwork pleaded guilty last fall to a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure the fall-protection system was used.

On Wednesday, provincial court Judge Julian Dickson said the Moncton company’s infraction was “a contributing factor” in Lutes’s death.

The company, which was contracted to do the concrete form work and superstructure of the hotel, should have ensured Lutes was following safety practices, he said.

Although Lutes had full fall-arrest training and was wearing a safety harness, he had attached his safety rope to his tool belt rather than part of the concrete structure, which didn’t have walls at the time, the courtroom heard.

A piece of temporary guardrail had also been removed to bring in a concrete form at the Queen Street construction site, so there was nothing to prevent his fall when he lost his balance.

The company’s lawyer, Dale Briggs, declined to comment outside the courthouse, other than to say “it’s very difficult for them, as it is for the family, as it is for everyone.”

Lutes’s brother-in-law Simon Jones commended the judge for his “measured and appropriate decision” but said the fine amount didn’t matter to the family.

“Whether it be $1 or $100,000 or $1 million, it won’t bring Steven back to us,” he said.

Keep reading on CBC News


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