Improving Sawmill Safety Following 2019 Death

A coroner’s inquest into the death of a Fredericton sawmill worker made recommendations to improve safety after they determined his death was preventable.

Troy Bourque, 49, died on Oct. 10, 2019, after he was crushed against the bottom of a catwalk at a Devon Lumber job site while trying to fix a metal cover on a moving conveyor belt.

In his obituary, Bourque was remembered by his family as a licensed lumber grader who worked at the mill for almost 30 years. He also enjoyed playing music and poker, and coaching his daughter Megan.

(Submitted: York Funeral Home)

“Troy was always willing and able to lend a helping hand anywhere he could,” reads the obituary.

“He will be greatly missed.”

In a news release issued by the Government of New Brunswick on Monday, the inquest’s five-member jury and its presiding coroner made four recommendations:

  • Establish formal weekly safety meetings and ongoing training with monthly worksite inspections.
  • Create a standard operating procedures manual that states procedures to be followed in the event of an accident, mechanical failure or maintenance.
  • Review where safety equipment and emergency stops are located and review standard operating procedures on a regular basis with all employees.
  • WorkSafeNB should continue to focus on “lockout, tag-out” procedures during routine inspections at sawmill operations.

“The chief coroner will forward these recommendations to the appropriate agencies for consideration and response,” reads the news release.

“The response will be included in the chief coroner’s annual report for 2022.”