The CNESST unveils the conclusions of its investigation into the work accident that claimed the life of Sandra Godin-Jacob, on October 4, 2019 at the La Perle Rouge agricultural farm, in Shawinigan. The latter had been struck by the transmission shaft of an agricultural tractor.
The investigation identified three causes to explain this tragic accident: the protection of the transmission shaft of the agricultural tractor was damaged; the worker was struck by the transmission shaft of an agricultural tractor when her scarf came into contact with it; and the identification of risks related to moving parts to which the worker was exposed during the video shooting activity was deficient.
On the day of the accident, Sandra Godin-Jacob, communications advisor for the Ministère du Conseil exécutif, with her colleague and a cameraman, were at La Perle Rouge inc. to produce a video capsule on behalf of the Quebec Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ).
At around 9.42am, the cameraman climbed onto the fruit pump platform to film the cranberry harvesting activities. A few minutes later, her colleague climbed the ladder and retrieved the camera to help the cameraman down. At this point, Mrs. Godin-Jacob moved between the tractor and the fruit pump, next to the transmission shaft (mechanical part) which connected the two pieces of equipment. She then leaned over the latter to take the camera from her colleague’s hands. It was then that her scarf got caught and wrapped around the driveshaft, and she was fatally caught by it.
Help was called to the scene. Sandra Godin-Jacob was transported to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.
Following the accident, the CNESST banned the use of the fruit pump. In order to authorize the resumption of the work, it demanded that the company Les Canneberges du Roy inc., Owner of the equipment, provide the transmission shaft with a protector, define a safety perimeter around it. and ensure that workers present have well-fitting clothing with no loose parts. The fixes were made quickly.
The CNESST has issued certain recommendations in order to prevent such an accident from happening again, for example: keep in place a tubular protector on the transmission shaft and a shield or a protective casing on the tractor PTO and on the the receiving shaft of the coupled machine; regularly check the condition of the protectors and, if they are damaged, do not use the transmission shaft before replacing them; ensure that the drive shaft protector turns freely at all times; disengage the PTO and stop the engine before doing this check.
In addition, it is important to wear tight-fitting clothes and to tie up your hair if it is long; stay out of range, even when guards are in place; and never step over a drive shaft.