A worker falls: rescue on the new Champlain bridge

News 19 January, 2018
  • Antoine Lacroix

    Thursday, 18 January, 2018 15:17

    Thursday, 18 January, 2018 23:41

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    The fall of an inspector in welding led to a rescue operation dramatically using a crane, Thursday, on the building site of the new Champlain bridge.

    The fifty year old man suffered only minor injuries to the back, arms and legs after a fall of nearly 10 feet in a box girder bridge, just to the side of the super structure overlooking the sea. The incident led to a pandemonium in the rescuers.

    The work accident occurred near one of the main sections, called the tower main. The inspector has found in his unfortunate position for more than an hour before he could be transported to the hospital by ambulance.

    It is the first evacuation of the kind performed on the site of the new Champlain bridge since the beginning of its construction in June 2015.

    In the late afternoon, rescuers specialized in rescues in confined spaces of the Service de sécurité incendie de Montréal (SIM) has been called on to intervene to evacuate the worker to a height of over 35 meters. Members of the Group tactical response to Emergencies health have also taken part in the intervention.

    “Before you can proceed, the environment and the reality of the places had to be analyzed to put together a rescue plan that works. There are several factors that are taken into account, such as the severity of the injury and the time, ” says Marwan Shedeed, chief operations SIM.


    It was finally decided that the fastest way to rescue the inspector in welding in the fifties would use a crane on the construction site.

    Photo courtesy

    Evans Dupuis

    Union operators crane operators

    This part of the intervention was “total improvisation,” says Evans Dupuis, director of the Union of operators crane operators.

    “Signature on the Saint-Laurent (SSL) was put in place emergency measures in case an accident like this would occur, and that the firefighters should use equipment of construction site. The workers were not ready for that “, he says, is saying all the same content that we have been able to get the injured worker safely.

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    “It’s been four months that calls for the establishment of a plan known. Ironically, an exercise will take place by the end of January, ” says Mr. Dupuis.

    The consortium SSL, responsible for the construction of the new Champlain bridge should have been, according to him, provide for the presence on the site of a cradle specialized for rescues, approved by an engineer.

    “A basket like that existed especially on the construction site of the bridge of the A-25. […] It is even prohibited by the safety Code to attach a person at the end of a hook, as it was done yesterday with the stretcher, “says Evans Dupuis, who agrees that the firemen had to do” with the means of the board “.

    “This was not dangerous, this was not the first time we used a crane,” said from his side, Marwan Shedeed, which is reassuring.

    The standards Commission, equity, health and safety in the workplace (CNESST) will research.

    A public report will not be produced, since it is a minor incident, with no fatalities.

    “We are in contact with the supervisor of the construction site, and we will act to prevent such an accident from happening again,” said Diana Thibault, a spokesman for the CNESST.

    Signature on the St. Lawrence river has indicated by email that “the teams of construction site know the procedures in case of emergency” and that an ” evacuation exercise is actually expected shortly “.

    “The first respondents make visits on a regular basis at the site since the very beginning of the project, as was the case at the end of the year 2017, and this enables them to take appropriate decisions during emergency situations, such as [Thursday],” said Véronique Richard-Charrier, advisor for media relations for SSL.

    – With the collaboration of Hugo Joncas

    The operation in details

    Photo Maxime Landry

    1. Prior to the evacuation of the victim in the fifties, the fire specialist to work in the confined spaces of the SIM had to make a quick scan of the premises. The man was in a box girder bridge at a height of about 35 meters.

    2. It was agreed that the use of a crane on the construction site would be the fastest solution. A crane operator, under the supervision of the fire department, made up a stretcher so that the casualty can be attached securely and locked.

    3. In no time the victim was not alone, since a first-aider was also attached with him during the descent towards the ground.

    4. Once brought back to the mainland, the man was able to be sent to the hospital by ambulance to treat his minor injuries.