Montréal, December 23, 2016
Workplace Accident at Romaine-4 Jobsite - Hydro-Québec Acts Quickly
Hydro-Québec would like to reiterate its most sincere condolences to the family, friends and coworkers of Luc Arpin, who died tragically in an accident at the Romaine-4 jobsite. On Friday, December 9, at about 11 p.m., the left upstream wall of the bypass canal collapsed onto the mechanical shovel that Mr. Arpin was operating. Excavation at the Romaine-4 jobsite has been suspended until further notice. Our top priority right now is to stabilize the site of the accident to provide safe access.
lthough it is still too early to know the exact causes and circumstances of the accident, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Hydro-Québec, Michael D. Penner, called a special meeting of the board today.
Management is also concerned by the number of fatal accidents that have occurred in the past few years.
“My first thoughts are for Mr. Arpin’s family. I feel for his loved ones,” said President and CEO Éric Martel. “On the joint recommendation of the chairman of the board and myself, the board has unanimously decided to strike a special committee to assess our current practices and make sure that the highest health and safety standards continue to be met on all our jobsites,” he added. “I will cochair the committee with Yvon Marcoux, who has been a member of the board since 2014.”
The special committee will report to the board in the winter of 2016–2017. The committee will have the full cooperation of management and company specialists, and will also call upon outside experts so as to be able to offer the board a carefully considered opinion.
Hydro-Québec is already cooperating fully with the authorities investigating the tragic incident. Workplace safety is crucial to the company and any accident of this type is one too many.
On their first day, all workers on Hydro-Québec jobsites must attend an orientation session covering occupational health and safety, along with the special features associated with working on a jobsite of this size in a remote area. Given the seriousness of the most recent incidents at the Romaine jobsite, current practices and measures will be reviewed in light of the special committee’s conclusions and management’s ongoing work.
As far as the site of the accident is concerned, our top priority, as mentioned earlier, is to stabilize it to allow safe access. The company is working with the contractor and geological experts to this end. As soon as it is possible to reach the buried equipment, Mr. Arpin’s body will be respectfully retrieved.