A spike in workplace incidents in Newfoundland this construction season prompted a provincewide safety stand-down, spearheaded by the Newfoundland and Labrador Construction Safety Association (NLCSA).

“For our small province, we have had a pretty tragic construction season,” says Jackie Manuel, CEO of the NLCSA. “We have had a number of workplace fatalities, terrible near misses and workers have suffered very serious, life-altering injuries.”

A stand-down is a voluntary event where employers and their workers break from normal production to discuss safety practices.

Manuel says among the incidents this year was a fatal fall for a worker on a 13-storey building under construction. Another worker was crushed by a structural steel element and a heavy equipment operator was run over by his own vehicle. A building in an industrial park in St. John’s also exploded.

“Something is terribly wrong. We wanted to reach out to the industry with a wake-up call,” says Manuel. “We saw this as an opportunity to remind employers and workers that you need to take a step back sometimes because you don’t want to be the next terrible accident that we’re hearing about in the media.”