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Shipyard Worker Dies at Halifax Shipyard in Workplace Accident

Halifax Shipyard
The accident took place at the Halifax Shipyard (Irving Shipbuilding file photo)

Published Feb 20, 2024 4:25 PM by The Maritime Executive

There was an industrial accident on Monday at Canada’s Halifax Shipyard operated by Irving Shipbuilding. It is one of Canada’s largest shipbuilders and is heavily involved in government contracting as well as commercial shipbuilding.

“A 43-year-old man was struck by a piece of equipment and pronounced deceased at the scene,” the Halifax Regional Police said in a statement. “The investigation is in the early stages and investigators from the Integrated Criminal Investigation Division and the Department of Labour are investigating the incident.”

According to the reports, the police were called to the shipyard located on Halifax Harbor shortly before noon on Monday. The company later reported online that the afternoon and night shifts at the yard were canceled for the day while it said it would be providing onsite and remote counseling services. 

A Labour Department spokesperson confirmed to the news outlet CBC that as is a standard practice in these types of incidents a stop-work order was issued. They told CBC that the equipment involved in the incident would be undergoing a mechanical assessment.

“Irving Shipbuilding is saddened to share that a workplace accident occurred at the Halifax Shipyard on the morning of February 19, resulting in the loss of one of our teammates,” the company said in its statement while asking for privacy for those involved.

The company has a large building hall located in the harbor which it invested in the last decade to modernize the facility. The hall measures over 1,300 feet in length and is more than 150 feet in height to support indoor large shipbuilding operations.

“We are cooperating fully with the ongoing investigation being conducted by the Department of Labour,” Irving said in its statement. The company said it would also “learn from this tragedy.”

Unifor, the union for the shipyard workers also released a statement saying it was “mourning the tragic loss.” The union said it has trained investigators and health and safety experts who would work alongside the investigation and who also ensure proper steps are taken following a workplace injury or death.