Equipment failure may have caused fatal industrial accident, says union

The union representing workers at Prestressed Systems Inc. is pointing to an equipment failure as the possible cause of an industrial accident that killed one worker and seriously injured another Thursday morning.

Worker injured in accident has broken bones, but is 'going to make it'

A 24-year-old man was killed in an industrial accident at Prestressed Systems Inc. in Tecumseh on March 12. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

The union representing workers at Prestressed Systems Inc. is pointing to an equipment failure as the possible cause of an industrial accident that killed one worker and seriously injured another Thursday morning.

"There's a machine that is used to stress the cables and every morning one of our workers goes in and de-stresses the cables before you cut them," explained Rob Petroni, business manager for LiUNA 625. "For some reason it looks like the machine just malfunctioned. There was a lot of stress on some steel, and it gave way and injured one of our workers and killed another young man."

Provincial police said a 24-year-old man was killed at the Walker Road concrete manufacturer around 6:30 a.m. A second worker was transported to hospital with injuries, but is expected to survive.

"He's doing much better. We have people at the hospital with him. I believe he came out of surgery and he's doing OK," said Petroni. "He has some broken bones all over his body ... but he's going to make it."

The Ministry of Labour dispatched inspectors and an engineer to PSI in Tecumseh following the fatal accident. (Dan Taekema/CBC)

Ontario's Ministry of Labour sent several inspectors and an engineer to the site, and they are continuing to investigate the incident.

Failure seems almost 'implausible'

Petroni worked with PSI for two years and said he has not heard of this piece of equipment malfunctioning before.

He added there's still a lot of confusion about how the accident happened, so members are eagerly waiting for some answers.

"I haven't heard of this happening at any precast manufacturing plants around the province. We're waiting for the investigation because it almost sounds implausible, but from everything that we're being told and can see that's exactly what happened."

Union representatives and grief counsellors will be at PSI today.

"They're a close-knit crew over there," said Petroni. "They're hanging in there. Obviously they're shaken and upset, but doing OK, really considering the circumstances."