L’Épiphanie landslide deaths: CSST blames 2 companies

Quebec’s workplace health and safety board (CSST) is blaming two companies for the deaths of two workers in a quarry landslide in l’Épiphanie.

Quebec workplace health and safety board says companies allowed for unsafe work conditions

Two workers were buried in a landslide at a quarry in l'Épiphanie last year. The CSST says the two companies involved in the work are responsible for the poor safety conditions that led to the workers' deaths. (CBC)

Two companies are to blame for the deaths of two workers in a quarry landslide in l’Épiphanie, according to Quebec’s workplace health and safety board (CSST).

The CSST found Maskimo Construction and les Excavations G. Allard were negligent and work at the site, which is 50 kilometres northeast of Montreal, was badly planned.

The companies will be fined between $15,000 and $63,000 each for creating unsafe work conditions that led to the deaths of quarry workers Daniel Brisebois and Marie-Claude Laporte on Jan. 29, 2013.

The CSST would not confirm the exact amount of the fines. However, fines for second and subsequent offences can reach up to $156,976.

Workers fell into 100-metre quarry pit

The two workers died after a landslide sent them plummeting down a 100-metre quarry pit. Their bodies were recovered five days later.

The landslide was triggered when hydraulic shovel operator, Benoît Robert, began moving an old pile of stone and other debris that was sitting atop a pile of clay while performing work to widen the quarry.

In its report, the CSST said moving the rubble upset the fragile balance of the soil and provoked a landslide, sending Brisebois and Laporte’s trucks, as well as Robert and his loader, into the pit.

Robert managed to escape.

The CSST will distribute its report to other companies to help prevent similar incidents in the future.

There have been two other mining-related landslides in l’Épiphanie; one in 2008 and another in 2011. No one died in either of those landslides.