EDMUNDSTON (GNB) – A jury at a coroner’s inquest and the presiding coroner have made recommendations to improve the safety of truck drivers.

A mandatory inquest into the death of Camille Cayouette was held Sept. 20 and 21 at the Edmundston Law Courts. Cayouette died on Jan. 2, 2019, from injuries sustained while working for Dube Trucking in Saint-Quentin.

The five-member jury heard from 20 witnesses and made five recommendations:

  • Rigorous inspections of the vehicle and trailer should be mandatory prior to each shift for operators under a Class 1 licence. This would include completion and signing of a checklist as a mandatory step rather than simply a best practice.
  • Weekly inspections of vehicles and trailers should be completed by a heavy equipment mechanic, or by a designated maintenance person, and ensure that any breakage is repaired and documented, including brake adjustments.
  • When a hazard has been identified by a supervisor, the logging roads should be closed until proper maintenance.
  • The supervisor or designated maintenance person must ensure that all current and next-shift truck drivers are notified of the road closure or other relevant information.
  • Radio repeaters, with first responder frequency, should be added on J.D. Irving Ltd. towers to fill in gaps.

The following recommendations were made by the presiding coroner:

  • All employees or contract employees operating an oversized truck working on private and Crown land must complete the Anatomy of a Rollover and Your Greatest Risk training courses or an equivalent specifically for winter driving. It will be the employer’s responsibility to offer its training in both official languages.
  • All drivers of oversized trucks will need to meet the criteria established by WorkSafeNB prior to being able to operate this type of truck.

These recommendations will be forwarded to the appropriate agencies for consideration and response. The response will be included in the chief coroner’s annual report for 2022.

The inquest was held pursuant to Section 7(b) of the Coroners Act, which states a 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.

An inquest is a formal court proceeding that allows for the public presentation of all evidence relating to a death. It does not make any finding of legal responsibility nor does it assign blame. However, recommendations can be made aimed at preventing deaths under similar circumstances in the future.