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Trans Mountain work in Burnaby halted after worker seriously injured

The injury follows multiple instances of Trans Mountain workers breaking COVID-19 rules
On-water work at the Westridge Marine Terminal in Burnaby. (via Trans Mountain)

A bad week for the Trans Mountain project in Burnaby continued with construction on the pipeline stopping after a worker was seriously injured Tuesday, according to the Canada Energy Regulator.

Chief executive officer Gitane De Silva says in a statement Wednesday that her thoughts are with the person who was hurt, their family, fellow workers and others affected.

She says the injury at the site in Burnaby was reported to the Canada Energy Regulator late Tuesday and its safety specialists were on-site Wednesday.

De Silva says those specialists will oversee the company's investigation and conduct an assessment of risk and potential non-compliances.

Trans Mountain issued a statement on what happened, confirming the incident happened at the Westridge marine terminal.

“An employee of a contractor working on the Trans Mountain Expansion Project at the Burnaby Terminal was seriously injured in an incident Tuesday afternoon. The individual remains in hospital in stable condition and our thoughts and prayers are with him and his family. All construction operations in the Lower Mainland have been immediately suspended and Trans Mountain is fully cooperating with WorkSafeBC and the Canada Energy Regulator.”

Trans Mountain didn’t say when work in Burnaby would begin again.

The statement adds that all site construction has stopped, and the Indigenous Advisory and Monitoring Committee for the project has been notified.

Oversight of occupational health and safety measures for the expansion project is a shared responsibility of the Canada Energy Regulator and provincial authorities.

"We are in communication with WorkSafeBC," said the statement from De Silva.

"Any incident is one too many. Every day, on every work site, people have the right to feel and stay safe. This sad occurrence brings home why we must always keep safety as our priority."

The accident follows revelations that federal regulators recently found “systemic non-compliances” of COVID-19 mask rules at Trans Mountain worksites in Burnaby and the Lower Mainland.

Four workers were sent home following an inspection that found more than three dozen violations by contractors in three days.

Canadian Energy Regulator staff conducted a compliance inspection at the Westridge Marine Terminal (Dec. 1) and the Burnaby Terminal (Dec. 2) on Burnaby Mountain. The inspection also focused on “Spread 7,” the section of the pipeline expansion construction being done in the Lower Mainland, on Dec. 3. Work at each of these sites is contracted out to Kiewit-Ledcor Trans Mountain Partnership (KLTP).

Over the course of those three days, the inspector found 37 violations of three COVID protocols set out by Trans Mountain’s COVID-19 response plan.

Those protocols include mandating that physical distancing of two metres must be followed when possible, and when it isn’t possible, workers must wear face masks that completely cover the nose and mouth. Supervisors and health and safety officers are expected, per the protocols, to monitor the effectiveness of the plan and enforce the protocols.

Trans Mountain officials told the CER inspector the contractor’s disciplines for violating the protocols range from a verbal warning up to termination, according to a CER report.

“At each site, workers … were observed not adhering to the requirements outlined in the COVID protocols, despite the company messaging and signage around sites,” reads the report.

  • With files from The Canadian Press and Dustin Godfrey