It is with great sadness, that I mourn the tragic loss of my first cousin and a best friend, Gerard Drover, of Spaniard’s Bay, NL.

Gerard passed away on Sept. 1, 2019 as a result of a head injury received in a senseless and preventable industrial incident. He was working on the new College of the North Atlantic campus in Stephenville, NL for a local painting company, who were sub-contracted through a Quebec based company.

Gerard was a man of many talents; an accomplished musician, expert sound technician, scaffolder, plasterer and painter. He was well known throughout the Province and in Northern Alberta as a great supporter of musicians, an excellent coworker and a kind, gentle soul.

Gerard was operating a scissor lift when he came in contact with an overhead industrial fan. He was wearing all his personal protective equipment.  Obviously there was a lockout/tag out isolation breach. The investigation is ongoing.

I would like to take this opportunity to remind all employees that you have the RIGHT to work in a safe environment. It is the EMPLOYER’S responsibility to ensure you have a safe workplace.  It is the EMPLOYEE’S responsibility to consult with your immediate supervisor or your safety advisor if you are placed in a situation where you feel unsafe.

SUPERVISOR’S and MANAGER’S play the most crucial role. They have to relay, in an objective manner, the employees concerns to Management and ensure that work does not proceed until all risks are mitigated.

It is the EMPLOYER’S/OWNER’S ultimate responsibility to ensure a safe workplace for all. A responsibility I take very seriously.

It is, ALWAYS, ok to ask a question or to seek clarification; and certainly your right to refuse an unsafe work assignment. Do not work alone, EVER. Getting the job done isn’t as important as your personal safety.

We all have family and friends waiting for us to return home safely. Let’s not let Gerard’s death be in vain. Let’s work together to ensure we never have another life lost to a workplace injury in this Province, Country ever again. Exercise your rights as employees, DEMAND a safe work environment. Do it for yourself and your family.

My sister, Maria, a retired public health nurse, summed up Gerard to a tee. She said to me on his passing, “Gerard was just about the sweetest thing I ever met on this earth!”

We will all miss him dearly.  Let us all learn from our loss.

Marty Gregory, P. Eng.


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