A jury at a coroner’s inquest has made a recommendation to improve the safety of people working at construction sites.
A mandatory inquest into the death of Steven Lutes was held June 27 and 28 in Saint John. Lutes died on Jan. 30, 2017 from injuries sustained during his employment with Lead Formwork Ltd. in Fredericton.
The five-member jury heard from eight witnesses during the inquest and made the following recommendation:
All high-risk workplaces should require safety supervisors dedicated to on-site safety compliance. High-risk workplaces can be defined by WorkSafe NB.
The chief coroner will forward this recommendation to the appropriate agencies for consideration and response. The response will be included in the chief coroner’s annual report for 2022.
The inquest was held pursuant to Section 7(b) of the Coroners Act, which states a coroner shall hold an inquest when a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his or her employment at or in a woodland operation, sawmill, lumber processing plant, food processing plant, fish processing plant, construction project site, mining plant or mine, including a pit or quarry.
An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death. It does not make any finding of legal responsibility nor does it assign blame. However, recommendations can be made aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.