Company fined $50K in worker’s death at Fredericton hotel construction site

A construction company has been fined $50,000 in connection with the death of a worker at the Hilton Garden Inn construction site in Fredericton two years ago.

Steven Lutes, a foreman for Lead Structural Formwork Ltd., fell about four storeys (12.5 metres or 41 feet) to his death on Jan. 30, 2017.

Lutes, 42, of Upper Coverdale, was a married father of two.

Lead Structural Formwork pleaded guilty last fall to a charge under the Occupational Health and Safety Act of failing to ensure the fall-protection system was used.

On Wednesday, provincial court Judge Julian Dickson said the Moncton company’s infraction was “a contributing factor” in Lutes’s death.

The company, which was contracted to do the concrete form work and superstructure of the hotel, should have ensured Lutes was following safety practices, he said.

Although Lutes had full fall-arrest training and was wearing a safety harness, he had attached his safety rope to his tool belt and not to a part of the structure, the courtroom heard.

A piece of the guardrail had also been removed to bring in a concrete form at the Queen Street construction site, next to the Fredericton Convention Centre.

After court, Lutes’s brother-in-law Simon Jones spoke of the family’s horrific loss.

A piece of guardrail had been removed to bring in a concrete form at the construction site on Queen Street, the court heard on Wednesday. (Catherine Harrop/CBC)

Lead Structural Formwork was also fined $10,000 Wednesday for a second unrelated charge of failing to ensure someone using a hoisting apparatus is competent or under supervision. 

Three weeks after Lutes’s death, a crane struck a worker and broke his jaw, the courtroom heard.

The eight-storey hotel opened in August 2018. It originally was scheduled to be complete by late 2017.

Lead Structural Formwork was contracted by the general contractor Lindsay Construction.

Aquilini Properties owns the site.