EDMUNDSTON (GNB) – Recommendations have been made to improve the safety of people working with heavy equipment at lumber yards. The recommendations follow a coroner’s inquest.

A mandatory inquest into the death of Ronald Warren was held May 1-2 in Edmundston. Warren died on Sept. 23, 2015, from injuries sustained during his employment at a Twin Rivers Lumber Yard in Plaster Rock. An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death.

The five-person jury, selected from the community, made the following recommendations:

  • That security cameras be installed and monitored where employees work alone.
  • That timely follow-ups be made upon the non-response of employees to any communication attempts by co-workers.
  • That there be a study of the use of operator-presence seat devices to engage the park brake and/or shut off the engine when the operator is off the seat after a certain amount of time.
  • That chock blocks be used during stop procedure at all times.
  • That square skids be utilized instead of log skids.

Presiding coroner Jerome Ouellette added the following recommendation:

  • That Worksafe NB recirculate hazard alerts in reference to safe parking.

The Office of the Chief Coroner will forward these recommendations to the appropriate government departments and agencies for consideration and response. The responses will be included in the chief coroner’s annual report for 2018.

The inquest was held pursuant to Section 7(b) of the Coroners Act, which states the Office of the Coroner shall hold an inquest when a worker dies as a result of an accident occurring in the course of his or her employment at or in a woodland operation, sawmill, lumber processing plant, food processing plant, fish processing plant, construction project site, mining plant or mine, including a pit or quarry.