Monday, July 22, 2019

Deaths of transmission-line workers show need for safe workplaces

construction safety

The heads of an electrical workers’ union and a safety association say the deaths of two men working to build a transmission line near Come by Chance, N.L., are a sad reminder of the importance of safe workplaces.

Don Murphy, business manager for the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union Local 1620, said he was saddened to hear of the deaths of two men Monday.

“I was shocked, dismayed, very concerned, obviously,” he said.

“It’s always alarming and disturbing when you hear of something like that in your business, in the industry that we are in, doing the work that we do, transmission construction in this province.”

Jackie Manuel, CEO of the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association, echoed Murphy’s sentiments.

“Our thoughts are with the families that are no doubt having the worst days of their lives,” she said.

“Where we spend our days talking about prevention and how to prevent accidents, it’s always rough to learn about terrible accidents like that.”

Murphy said his workers are willing to speak up about safety issues — but sometimes speaking up can come at a cost.

“I do know it’s a real fear for workers when they are out there, how do [concerns] get received by the employer, or the foreman, or the lead of a crew,” he said.

“In the non-union world, definitely. I know that that fear is out there, because people want to keep their jobs.”

When asked if he had more concerns because Forbes Bros., the company building the tower, is a non-union company, Murphy said no.

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