Construction worker dies of heat stroke, inquest finds

It was a hot summer day and the air temperature was over 30 degrees Celsius. At the end of his day, Wapistan went to the parking lot, keeping a distance behind his colleagues. Moments later, he branched off into the forest, passed out, and fell headlong.

Arrived at the car, Wapistan’s colleagues noticed that he was not there and went to look for him. Wapistan was found a few minutes later. Emergency services were called to the scene and Wapistan was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The CNESST revealed two causes to explain the accident: The worker suffered from heat stroke at the end of his workday when the air temperature in the forest exceeded 30 degrees Celsius; and the management of worker exposure to extreme heat conditions was deficient, which meant that Wapistan worked in conditions that exceeded the heat exposure threshold for this type of work.

Following the accident, the CNESST prohibited the continuation of clearing work in section 1 of the site. In addition, he demanded that Hydro-Québec – the project coordinator – define better safety measures for workers exposed to extreme weather conditions such as heat. The CNESST also asked the organization to put in place effective emergency evacuation measures. Hydro-Québec complied with the requests.

Alice F. Ponder