Updated: June 22, 2020
A CN Rail employee who died on the job June 15, in Port Edward has been identified as Daniel Paulusse, 37. The train conductor had only recently been posted in the Prince Rupert area and was based in Smithers.
Teamsters Canada Rail Conference (TCRC), the largest rail union in the country, said Paulusse had been with CN since 2018.
“This is the second CN conductor to die on the job this month in B.C. Another conductor died on June 1 in Surrey,” Teamsters said.
“Both workers were performing “switching operations,” a term that refers to activities like making up and marshalling trains, storing cars, serving industries within rail terminals, and other related activities.
“On behalf of Canada’s over 125,000 Teamster members, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to our fallen brother’s loved ones and colleagues,” Francois Laporte, national president of Teamsters Canada said. “Incidents like these are never acceptable. Every accident, every fatality is preventable.”
According to Teamsters a total of twelve railroaders have died on the job in the past two and a half years.
Long-time friend of Paulusse, Alex Zellner, said that his buddy was not long on the job in Prince Rupert and was working in the yard in a completely different position to his regular job as a conductor.
“This shouldn’t have happened…Most times in most professions (accidents) are preventable. Clearly there are things that need to change. Probably training is one of them…” Zellner said.
Denise Savoie, Paulusse’s mom, said the amount of the deaths are not OK and something needs to be done. She said information has not been forthcoming about the incident and no-one is getting any answers.
“I am just so angry. This didn’t need to happen. It’s not just the last two (employee deaths), there have been others before. Why didn’t they take precautions or change things … I know my son said it was dangerous – even the driving part. It’s all dangerous, but he wouldn’t go into specifics with me,” Savoie said.
“This industry has suffered far too many preventable tragedies. We need to find new ways to focus on safety. Our union continues to work with employers, the federal government and other stakeholders in hopes of preventing future accidents and ultimately saving lives,” Lyndon Isaak president of the TCRC said.
“In the meantime, we remind all our members to stay vigilant and aware of their surroundings at all times while at work,” Isaak added.
The Transportation Safety Board is aware of the accident.
“At this time we are assessing the event and gathering information,” Alexandre Fournier, TSB media relations specialist said on June 16.
RCMP are assisting in the workplace fatality that occurred and can confirm there is no criminality suspected. No further information is had at this time, Cpl. Madonna Saunderson RCMP media relations said.
K-J Millar | Journalist
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