A worker was badly injured at the Halifax Shipyard earlier this month, prompting an investigation by the provincial Department of Labour.

The work was near the A. LeBlanc, a Hero-class patrol boat, when it was being moved during a blizzard in early January.

"Essentially the cable failed and a piece of the cable struck an employee that was sitting in a nearby truck," said Scott Nauss of the Department of Labour. "This is a very serious accident."

The boat was being refitted to join the Coast Guard fleet in Dartmouth. Work was delayed for weeks as the department investigated what went wrong.

Safe zone established

The investigation continues, but changes have already been made. The shipyard established a safe zone around vessels when they’re being moved.

Irving, the company that owns the Halifax Shipyard, replaced the winch involved in the incident.

"It makes sense to have a safe clearance area while moving the vessel. We relied on the in-house expertise of the company… to ensure these zones were achieved," Nauss said.

Spokeswoman Mary Keith said the injured worker is not employed by Irving Shipbuilding and not a member of the union. She said the employee works for Irving Equipment, part of the Nova Scotia-based team subcontracted for some work.

The union said the worker is recovering.

The shipyard has two more vessels due this year to complete its $194 million contract to build a mid-shore fleet for the Coast Guard.