Blasting accident on Olympic-related worksite claims 

RCMP, Worksafe B.C., and coroner’s office all investigating rare accident

Coroner Jan MacFayden heads to Murrin Construction site near Whistler where one construction worker died in a blasting accident Monday afternoon. Photo by Vivian Moreau
  • Coroner Jan MacFayden heads to Murrin Construction site near Whistler where one
    construction worker died in a blasting accident Monday afternoon. Photo by Vivian
    Moreau

By Clare Ogilvie

Mike Greer had done some of the most dangerous jobs in construction and was well thought of by his peers.

“He had been doing this for 20 years and he knew what he was doing,” said Dewey McLellan, a blaster and site superintendent currently working in Lillooet who had worked with Greer in the past.

“He was totally qualified.”

Greer, 45, was killed Monday by a blasting accident on a road under construction for access to an Olympic venue just south of the resort.

“He was a gentleman, a very fine person, he fit right in with the boys, he never backed off a job,” said McLellan of the divorced father of two.

The RCMP, Worksafe B.C., the Ministry of Transportation and the contractor for the $12 million road construction project, Murrin Construction, are all investigating the accident.

Specifics of the cause of the blast are not being released, but RCMP Cst. Jeff Levine said that the site was guarded overnight as there was still dynamite at the site that was to be set off yesterday as part of the measures to make the work site safe.

“One of the priorities is making the site safe,” said Levine.

Greer was a member of the Christian Labour Association of Canada. North Vancouver’s Murrin Construction has been a member of CLAC since 2004.

McLellan said Greer had worked as a highway rock scaler as well as a blaster and a driller.

“I call those guys (scalers) the dancers with death,” he said. “(Greer) was a good scaler. I mean he would hang 400 or 500 feet over the Fraser Canyon.”

Getting a ‘ticket’ to blast from the Workers Compensation Board is no easy task said McLellan. Blasters have to apprentice for an extended period and then be vouched for by peers in the business as well.

“(Greer) knew exactly what he was doing, there was no ifs, ands, or buts about it. This guy has been doing it since he was 20 years old but something happened,” said McLellan.

“I started doing this when I was 15 and I’m 57 now and I’m still doing it. But I can honestly tell you that on many occasions there are times when you are just lucky to still be here.

“This is a great loss. I feel for the family and friends and our brothers. You know when you get up in the morning and you put on your rigging you never know what the day will bring. Sometimes you just don’t come back.”

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