Second employee dies at Suncor oil sands site

Suncor Energy has had a second workplace death this year, after a fatality free year in 2013 for the organization.

An electrician working for Suncor Energy Inc. has been killed at one of the company’s oil sands sites, the second fatality among the company’s workforce this year.
According to a company statement, the employee was “severely injured while working” Sunday and the company’s emergency service personnel responded at around 11:30 a.m. The employee was taken to the Northern Lights Regional Health Centre in Fort McMurray and pronounced dead, Suncor said.
The incident is being investigated by the RCMP and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety.
“An electrician was working in an area containing electrical panels when he collapsed,” Barrie Harrison, a spokesman for OHS, said. The area has been secured for the investigation, he said. RMCP called the death “sudden.”
Suncor said it would cooperate with the authorities, and “will complete a full investigation into the cause of the incident.”
“This is devastating news and a tragic loss for family, friends and co-workers,” Mark Little, Suncor’s executive vice-president of its upstream operations, said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to loved ones during this extremely difficult time.”
Suncor has mining, upgrading, and steam-assisted gravity drainage operations in northern Alberta’s oil sands region.
The death on Sunday is the second person killed at Suncor’s operations in 2014. Jerry Cooper, a 40-year old man with 13 years experience at Suncor, was found dead in a pool of sand and water after a workplace incident in January. He was found “submerged” in soft ground at a sand dump.
The RCMP and Alberta Occupational Health and Safety investigated the case.
There was one fatality in Alberta’s oil sands industry in 2012, and another in 2011, according to the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers’ 2013 progress report.
A Canadian subsidiary of the Chinese state-owned oil giant Sinopec in January, 2013, paid a record $1.5-million workplace violation fine for two deaths in 2007. The accident happened in April, 2007, as Canadian Natural Resources Ltd. built its Horizon oil-sands project. Two Chinese workers were struck and killed by falling steel. Five other employees were injured. Two of those had serious injuries. CNRL had contracted SSEC Canada Ltd. – a small arm of Sinopec – to work on Horizon.

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