Recommendations made after Kamloops truck driver crushed to death | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Recommendations made after Kamloops truck driver crushed to death

John Sleypen, 50, died as a result of an accident Dec. 3, 2014 while making a delivery at Rapid-Span Structures in Spallumcheen.
January 18, 2016 - 6:30 PM

VERNON - A Kamloops truck driver was in the most dangerous area possible when a load of timber fell and crushed him, according to a coroner’s report into his death.

John Elliot Sleypen, 50, was fatally injured Dec. 3, 2014 when the timber he was delivering to Rapid-Span Structures in Spallumcheen slid off a flat deck trailer.

Coroner Margaret Janzen said a lift of 20 timbers, each one weighing about 165 kilograms, fell onto Sleypen. Despite the efforts of paramedics, he could not be revived.

Employment and Social Development Canada also investigated the incident and identified four main contributing factors, Janzen said.

“First, contrary to safe unloading procedures Mr. Sleypen was opposite the forklift in the most dangerous zone to be in during the unloading process,” Janzen wrote.

Second, the trailer’s airbags weren’t deflated of pressure, which caused the load to shift when the first lifts were removed. The fact that the trailer was parked on a slight incline, and that the trailer and plastic tarp were slippery due to ice and snow, were also contributing factors, Janzen said.

Employment and Social Development Canada made three recommendations, Janzen said in her report. The first is that employers ensure dunnage — small timbers placed beneath the load to allow forklift access — is provided by drivers, not mills, so they can ensure the wood is clean and dry. It also recommended that employers discuss using slip-resistant alternatives to plastic tarps, and that they consider a peer driver observation program where drivers’ activities are ‘observed unannounced by other drivers with a view to safety considerations.’

Janzen said the employer in this particular case made efforts to implement the recommendations, and now informs every new driver of the incident as pat of the on-boarding process.

Janzen classified the death as accidental and made no additional recommendations.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston at or call 250-309-5230. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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