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Construction company will face charges after workplace fatality

The College of the North Atlantic building in Stephenville. – @ File photo

By JAYMIE L. WHITE Special to The Appalachian

STEPHENVILLE – Charges have been laid against construction company Pomerleau Inc. in relation to an alleged incident that resulted in a worker’s death on Aug. 27, 2019.

Gerard Drover, 55, of Spaniard’s Bay was fatally injured while painting piping near the ceiling of the new College of the North Atlantic building in Stephenville while it was under construction. He was taken to hospital but succumbed to his injuries four days later on Sept 1.

The Occupational Health and Safety branch of the Department of Digital Government and Service NL conducted the investigation, and Pomerleau Inc. has been subsequently charged with four counts under the Health and Safety Act.

The Department of Digital Government and Service NL released a statement on its findings on Aug. 24, 2021, wherein it stated that Pomerleau Inc. has been charged with violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The charges allege that the company failed to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of its workers, failed to provide proper instruction, training and supervision to its workers, failed to familiarize workers and supervisors with hazards, and failed to ensure workers were not exposed to health and safety hazards.

Krista Dalton, media contact for the Department of Digital Government and Service NL stated the following on behalf of the department:

“The impact of a workplace fatality is felt by family, friends and co-workers, and resonates with all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. We offer our deepest condolences to the family.”

Dalton continued, “When an incident occurs, investigations are carried out by trained Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) officers, whose mandate, in part, is to investigate the cause or causes of the incident. Where warranted, and when charges are laid, the findings are put forward for the courts to decide, based on evidence. As this is an impartial process, the department does not comment on the findings of the court.”

Pomerleau Inc. was contacted but stated that due to the matter being before the Court, they will respect the process and not make a comment regarding the charges.

The case is scheduled to have its first appearance at the Provincial Court in Stephenville on Monday, Sept. 20.

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