The death of road signalman Marc Séguin, struck by a motorist on a construction site in October 2022 in Carignan in Montérégie, is explained in particular by “deficient” signaling management, an investigation report ruled on Wednesday.
In a document made public, the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST) concludes that “the management of signage on the site was deficient since the method of controlling the traffic used did not comply with the plans and specifications specific to the site, thus exposing the road signaller to the danger of being entangled”.
It was on October 19, 2022 that the tragedy occurred, on Chemin Sainte-Thérèse, in a roadwork area where traffic was alternating thanks to intermittent lights.
The driver of a vehicle that “didn’t seem to want to stop” then arrived at the entrance to the work zone before hitting the flagman, who was then “in the center of the traffic lane”, recalls the Commission in its report. Marc Séguin, 58, was then taken to hospital in critical condition. His death was unfortunately pronounced there shortly thereafter.
On social networks, several flaggers had expressed their indignation. “It is deplorable that in 2022, we are still going to work protecting workers, not knowing if we ourselves will return”, for example denounced on Facebook the signaller Nathalie Diamond.
According to the CNESST, it was “the absence of a means of verbal communication between the road flagger and the construction workers” that forced Mr. Séguin “to position himself in the center of the lane closed to traffic, in order to see situations of encroachment”.
It was also the second fatal accident to occur in less than a week at the same place. A few days earlier, two teenagers on a scooter had been hit by a driver, also on Chemin Saint-Thérèse, where the construction site was. One of them died.
A 30-year-old man, Alexy Gutierrez-Marcil, has been formally charged with dangerous driving causing the death of Marc Séguin, can we read in court documents. The man is due back in court on April 18 for further proceedings.
At the Association of Road Signage Workers of Quebec (ATSRQ), President Jean-François Dionne, whose group had held demonstrations in the wake of the death of Marc Séguin, laments that the site was not safe. “We are frustrated that the appointed supervisor did not stop the work, in addition to having forgotten better road signs on site,” Dionne told La Presse on Wednesday. “It’s not the first time we’ve seen this. »
The ATSRQ says that approximately 210 flaggers were injured on Quebec roads in 2022. This is an increase from 2021, when 161 flaggers were involved in an accident in Quebec. Some 104 workers were injured in 2020, 80 in 2019, around 75 in 2018 and around 60 in 2017. In 2016, 47 accidents occurred.
The ATSRQ also says it “noticed that the barrier trailer was not used”. “That would have put the flagger outside the mud zone,” notes Mr. Dionne.
To prevent such an accident from happening again, the CNESST recommends that construction contractors “apply signage management that favors the use of technical means for alternating traffic control, particularly on roads where the speed is high (traffic flagger barrier, traffic lights for works, etcetera)”.
The authorities also suggest ensuring that “minimum signage in accordance with the standards” of the Ministry of Transport and Sustainable Mobility (MTMD) is in place. At all times, the traffic signal person must be “in a safe position, if his presence is necessary, according to the standardized drawings or the signaling plans”, insists the Commission.
It recalls that “the employer is required to take the necessary measures to protect the health and ensure the safety and physical and mental integrity of his workers”, having also “the obligation to ensure that the organization of work and the equipment, methods, and techniques for accomplishing it are safe.”