Alberta Occupational Health and Safety investigating death of boy at gravel pit

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is investigating the death of a 15-year-old boy at a gravel pit site while a labour group is calling for tougher youth labour laws.

Alberta Occupational Health and Safety is investigating the death of a 15-year-old boy at a gravel pit site while a labour group is calling for tougher youth labour laws.

The youth who died on Saturday morning when he became entangled in a conveyor has been identified by various media sources as Chris Lawrence of Innisfail.

A stop work order has been issued for the entire site, which includes multiple conveyors, southeast of Drumheller, said Lauren Welsh, Occupational Health and Safety spokeswoman.

The accident happened at an Arjon Construction site around 9 a.m. on Saturday morning.

Under Alberta law, a worker aged 15 to 17 is able to work like any adult as long it is not between midnight and 6 a.m., said Welsh.

There are no restrictions on young workers operating machinery outside of the regulations requiring companies to ensure their workers are well trained, understand the hazards, how to mitigate risks and are working safely.

The Alberta Federation of Labour says that’s not good enough, calling Alberta’s child labour laws “among the most lax in Canada” on Monday.

In April, the federation recommended to Employment Minister Thomas Lukaszuk that the province adopt targeted inspections of workplaces hiring 15-to-17-year-olds. The labour group also recommended special health and safety programs be required for companies hiring young workers.

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