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Worker at Wal-Mart Electrocuted


The father of a New Brunswick teenager killed while working at a Wal-Mart in Grand Falls on Jan. 6 said he wants to know exactly what happened to his son.

Police suspect that Patrick Desjardins, 17, was electrocuted while using a buffing machine to clean the floor of the store’s garage last Wednesday. Police say it appears there was an electrical defect in the cord of machine.

The teen was discovered by another staff member and rushed to the Grand Falls General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Patrick’s father, Fabien Desjardins, said he refuses to call his son’s death a workplace accident and wants more information on what happened.

“We’re not calling this an accident,” Desjardins said in an interview with CBC. “If you’re driving down the road and you hit a moose, that’s an accident. If a drunk driver hits you and kills your whole family, that’s not an accident; that’s negligence.

“What happened to Patrick, as far as we’re concerned, I’m calling it negligence.”

WorkSafe NB is investigating what might have caused the teen’s death.

It’s also looking into the manner in which Wal-Mart taught its employees about risks in the workplace and how they should be handled.

Reforms sought

Desjardins said he hopes WorkSafe NB’s findings will mean changes in company policies to protect workers.

For now, he said, his son’s death should send a message to young people on the job.

“If there is any teenagers out there that is working and sees something that is not safe, report it to the manager,” Desjardins said. “And if nothing is done, you can call WorkSafe New Brunswick or tell your parents.

“Do not keep working if you think it is not safe. Stop and say, ‘I will not work with a piece of equipment, or whatever it is, until it is repaired. Trust me if you lose your job, you can fight this and get your job back because the life of a child is worth more than life itself.”

WorkSafe NB said the investigation into Patrick’s death could take three to four months.

Desjardins criticized the agency for not calling the family with the results of his son’s autopsy.

Desjardins said that when he inquired about the results, a WorkSafe NB official told him that they thought somebody else had already called.

“I said, ‘Even if there were 10 people that called us to tell us that our son had passed of electrocution before it was put on the media, it would have been better than zero calling us’.”

Desjardins was an only child who was working at the Wal-Mart to save money to pay for college because he wanted to become a forest ranger.

His father said the loss has been devastating.

“I did not only lose a son; I lost a best friend,” Desjardins said.

Update:  WorkSafeNB is now investigating, but early indications are that a faulty cord on the machine may have caused the accident.

GRAND FALLS, New Brunswick, Canada – An autopsy has confirmed a 17-year-old youth died after being electrocuted while buffing a floor during his shift at Wal-Mart. Patrick Desjardins was found in the automotive department at the store in Grand Falls on Wednesday. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the local hospital.

A funeral for Desjardins will be held Monday in Grand Falls

Story via TimesTranscript.CanadaEast.com

Electrical Accidents and Electrical Safety are not just for Electricians.  Anyone working on or near electrical equipment at 50v or higher should have electrical safety training.

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