'Safety is a priority for us:' Rideau Transit Group defends LRT tunnel safety
Published Monday, March 20, 2017 6:06PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, March 21, 2017 1:19PM EDT
The city and the consortium building Ottawa's light rail project are defending the safety of the downtown tunnel after two worker injuries within a seven-day span.
"Safety is a priority for us," Tim Stewart, construction director at the Rideau Transit Group, said in an interview on Monday. "We wouldn't be successful if safety was secondary. We endeavour every day to have zero incidents."
RTG says there have been 12 incidents requiring an employee to take time off work, after nearly five million hours of work. That rate is well below the industry average for a project of this size.
But the president of the Ottawa and District Labour Council says workers are scared to speak out about the conditions in the tunnel, and more needs to be done to protect them.
"From our perspective...something is amiss here, and something is not as transparent as it ought to be," he said.
Mayor Jim Watson says he has asked McKenney for the names and emails of workers who have safety concerns, and "would be pleased to meet with them one on one."
OC Transpo general manager John Manconi says he's been assured by RTG the tunnel is safe.
"There's been 11 or 12 incidents. No loss of limb, no loss of life, no major injuries. When I hear about safety in the tunnel, we have to look at the facts," John Manconi said.
He also denied suggestions that RTG is compromising safety by rushing the project to finish it on time.
"The city has a proven track record on safety. We are not going to compromise safety to the public, to employees, to anyone, to reach a deadline," he said.
Manconi said there are no outstanding order from the Ministry of Labour, and encouraged any worker with concerns to share them with the city.
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