One year later: tribute to the signalman caught by a train

Colleagues of Pascal Cauchon, the deceased worker hit by a train while working on a railway line, gathered on Friday to pay tribute to their comrade as well as to the 16 other workers killed in similar conditions since 2008.

• Read also: Death of a flagman: an accident that could have been avoided, according to the coroner

• Read also: Flagman killed feared for his safety on construction sites

• Read also: Mobilization of flaggers in front of the National Assembly

Members of the Association regrouping the installers and flaggers of Quebec (ARISQ), marked the first anniversary of the death of Pascal Cauchon in Saint-Cyrille de Wendover, in the Centre-du-Québec region, on Friday.

The 39-year-old man was fatally struck by a road train on April 8, 2021 as he was busy installing traffic signs approaching a road construction site.

The accident occurred near kilometer 188 eastbound on the Jean-Lesage highway.

About twenty work colleagues and employees of other signaling companies marched in procession on the highway and then installed a cross in his memory near the edge of the highway.

This commemoration aims to honor the memory of Pascal Cauchon but that of the 16 other workers who have lost their lives in accidents in similar circumstances since 2008.

According to the coroner’s report, a protection vehicle equipped with an impact attenuator was stopped in the right lane to indicate to road users to change lanes.

Around 1 p.m., the driver of a truck traveling in the same lane struck the protection vehicle before losing control of his road train.

Mr. Cauchon, who was in his path, was fatally struck. The 39-year-old man died of severe polytrauma. “This is an accidental death,” concluded the report by coroner Yvon Garneau, mandated to shed light on this accident.

According to Mr. Garneau, police surveillance during the installation of the signage “would have been an effective measure so that the installers and their supervisor work in conditions of increased security”.

“I still don’t know why that wasn’t the case at the time. The employer (Location Jesna inc.) however explained to me that various agreements already exist between the MTQ and the SQ on this subject, ”we can read.

“It is imperative that we set in motion all the interventions (ministry, police, media and all the workers) that could reduce all the risks. Mr. Pascal Cauchon, I repeat it otherwise, did not have to lose his life at his work”, also wrote the coroner.

Thus, the coroner advises the Société de l’assurance automobile du Québec (SAAQ) to “intensify” its efforts to educate vehicle drivers on “the importance of respecting the safety corridor set up during work on the road network.

Mr. Garneau also recommends that the Ministère des Transports du Québec (MTQ) install a variable message sign as close as possible to the construction site and announce 24 hours in advance and in real time any obstruction on the way.

The MTQ should also “coordinate with the Sûreté du Québec for increased police surveillance” during the installation and removal of signaling devices.

The coroner is asking to lower the speed to 70 km/h for short-term work and to increase the fines and demerit points for vehicle drivers when they do not respect the safety corridor set up during work .

Finally, the MTQ and the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) should also “continue and intensify efforts” in education and awareness to strengthen worker safety. .

For its part, the Association of Road Signage Workers of Quebec (ATSRQ) welcomed the recommendations issued by the coroner.

However, she deplored that the driver of the road train never received a ticket or had to face criminal charges.

“He was supposed to drive at 90, he was going 100 km/h. The trucker had time, he had free vision, it is not normal that the driver had nothing, ”explained the president of the ATSRQ, Jean-François Dionne.

According to him, the safety of the workers would be better guaranteed by police surveillance from the start of the works to the end.

“Having had a police tank on the Pascal site, that accident would not have happened,” added the president, who even claims that the demerit points go from three to six for a motorist who does not respect the security corridor.

The associations of road flaggers as well as the victim’s family are calling for a public inquiry from the coroner’s office.

Office management does not believe this is necessary given that the case report is complete and recommendations have been made. A public inquiry would not shed any new light on the events.

The SQ confirmed that the investigation concluded that it was an accident and that the inattention shown by the truck driver did not demonstrate any criminal intent on his part.

Leave a Comment