Burnaby RCMP investigate 2011 workplace death

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Burnaby RCMP are investigating a 2011 workplace incident that left one man dead and another seriously injured.

On Oct. 11, 2012, two men were in a deep trench installing a sewer line in the rear lane north of 4009 Edinburgh St. in North Burnaby when the concrete retaining wall next to them collapsed into the excavation, according to a WorkSafeBC investigation report.

Jeffrey Caron, 28, was killed while Thomas Richer suffered serious injuries.

The men were employees of J. Cote & Son Excavating Ltd. in Surrey, who had been contracted to install the sewer pipes by the City of Burnaby.

Richer has said in media reports that he raised concerns about the retaining wall to his foreman multiple times but nothing was ever done before it collapsed.

WorkSafeBC determined the direct cause of the accident was the contractor excavating too closely to the concrete wall, causing it to become unstable. Among several underlying factors was that the contractor, city hall, and Earthbitat Engineering Inc. and Vector Engineering Services Ltd. who were involved in the project, also failed to recognize and address the hazards at the workplace.

On Thursday, Burnaby RCMP Staff Sgt. Major John Buis confirmed that the detachment has started an investigation into the incident "looking into whether any criminality is involved," at the request of WorkSafeBC.

"We can confirm we have an ongoing investigation into this matter," Buis said. "As it is an active investigation we are not in a position to comment further at this time."

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