Ferris Wheel worker safety 'deficient', coroner says

Safety of Ferris Wheel workers was «deficient, coroner says

Ferris Wheel at Riley Memorial Vigil Valcin, in January.

Nothing was done to prevent the death of Riley Jonathan Valcin, this civil engineering student who was crushed while clearing snow from the Big Wheel in Old Montreal when he was only 22 years old. Worker safety was “deficient”, says coroner Julie-Kim Godin in her report, like the Commission for Standards, Equity, Health and Safety at Work (CNESST).

On Christmas Day, Riley Valcin, then an employee of the site maintenance team, went about his usual duties. When the snow became more abundant, a colleague asked him to clear the snow from the driving wheels of the carousel by hand, while they were rotating.

It got stuck between the Ferris Wheel transmission plate and the lower drive wheel. The young native of Montreal North succumbed to his injuries in the hospital after suffering multiple fractures and internal bleeding, indicates the coroner's report which also points out that Riley Valcin was not intoxicated at the time of his death.

In a report published in June 2022, the CNESST raised shortcomings in the management of worker safety since they had to “improvise a dangerous work method to clear snow from the driving wheels of the carousel”. This is also the conclusion of coroner Julie-Kim Godin, who points out that no measures were taken to ensure the safety of Riley Valcin when he had to perform “a dangerous task in a dangerous area”. According to her, this is what led to the death.

Since the tragic event, La Grande Roue de Montréal has implemented the security measures requested by the CNESST.

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