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Probe continues into power line death

Full work has resumed on BC Hydro’s Northwest Transmission Line but a WorkSafeBC investigation continues after the March 15 death of a worker on the project.

The worker was in a man bucket suspended about 85 feet above the ground by a mobile crane at one of the transmission line towers when it hit a boom and he was thrown out, WorkSafeBC reported at the time.

A second worker in the bucket – the two were  putting conductors in place on the tower at the time – was not injured.

The deceased worker had 15 years experience and was employed by McGregor Construction 2000 of Edmonton which has been contracted by Valard, the prime company on the project. Valard also has headquarters in Edmonton.

Valard president Adam Budzinski said work was immediately shut down on the entire project with some activity resuming the next day in consultation with WorkSafeBC.

The accident took place approximately 50 kilometres north of Terrace on the southern end of the project which stretches 344 kilometres north of Terrace to Bob Quinn on Hwy37 North.

Workers on the south end of the project were rotated out earlier than originally scheduled, said Budzinski.

“The piece of equipment involved in the fatality is not being used. It is being inspected as part of the investigation into the fatality,” he said.

A fund has been set up in support of the deceased worker’s family and many people are contributing, Budzinski added.

He and McGregor officials were on a plane from Edmonton, traveling to Terrace immediately after being informed of the accident.

“The team as a whole here in Terrace has done an excellent job of rallying around McGregor and McGregor’s people,” said Budzinski.

“This has been the loss of a coworker that has been with the company for 15 years.

“I’m extremely proud of McGregor. It’s a smaller company and is tight knit. It’s been a tough time for everyone.”

Both Valard and McGregor are owned by Quanta Services, a Houston, Texas-based major power services company.

BC Hydro executive vice president Greg Reimer expressed condolences on behalf of the crown corporation.

“BC Hydro will work with the contractor to cooperate fully with investigation by WorkSafeBC and we will continue to offer any other support and assistance we can to the contractor and their employees,” he said in a statement released March 17.

Being installed for the 287 kilovolt line are 1,100 towers to carry 2,100 kilometres of conductor wire to both provide electricity to projects in the north and to feed power generated by hydro-electric projects into the provincial grid.

The project, which had been increasing in cost, is now scheduled to come in at $736 million. A $10 million contingency is in place.

 

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