Montreal

Employer should have done more to protect Quebec nurse who died on way to remote community, report finds

George He, a 29-year-old nurse from Brossard, Que., went missing last November after travelling to a remote, Northern Quebec community on an assignment. A report from Quebec's workplace health and safety board says his employer should have done more to protect him.

George He's body was found 8 days after he went missing

George He's vehicle was found on a secondary road that was closed to traffic. (Quebec provincial police)

Nearly a year after George He, a 29-year-old nurse from Montreal's South Shore, died during his travels to Northern Quebec while on contract, the province's workplace health and safety board says his employer is not responsible for his death, but more could have been done to protect him.

The nurse from Brossard, Que., never made it to his destination.

He was last seen on Nov. 20, 2019 at a gas station in Louvicourt, east of Val-d'Or. His body was found eight days later.

The workplace health and safety board (CNESST) has released a report detailing the nurse's trip to the Northern Quebec community of Nemaska, and how things took a turn for the worst.

According to the report, He was driving in an area that had no cellphone coverage, and chose to take the shorter route recommended by Google Maps — a different route than the one his employer, Bayshore HealthCare had given him — leading him down a forest road covered in 20 centimetres of snow. 

His vehicle got stuck on a bridge that was closed to traffic.

The nurse's body was found nearly 17 kilometres away from his vehicle.

Quebec's workplace health and safety board says George He's employer should have had procedures in place to get in touch with him while he was travelling. (Radio-Canada)

Company needed to find a way to get in touch with employee, report says

Even though He didn't follow driving instructions, the CNESST says Bayshore HealthCare's procedure for employees travelling to remote locations without cellular service was incomplete, since the company did not ensure they could get in touch with the employee. 

"The employer confirmed to us that, at the time of the event, the procedure for travel in isolated locations did not include instructions or means of communication allowing the company to know employees' moment of departure or moment of arrival," the report stated.

The workplace health and safety board's report says George He did not follow the route provided by his employer. (Submitted by Remorquage Belzile)

Those instructions would not have prevented He from finding himself in danger, the report said, but it could have accelerated search efforts.

Bayshore HealthCare will not be sanctioned.

However, the CNESST wants to remind companies to put in place an efficient surveillance method when employees travel to remote locations.

It will publish guidelines outlining different prevention measures for such situations next year.

With files from Radio-Canada

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