Sister of man who died on the job makes plea for workplace safety

The sister of a Sherwood Park man who drowned on the job in Fort McMurray is urging workers to watch out for each other.

Christopher Fontaine, 32, was found dead on Sept. 26 in a tank he'd been working on at a water treatment plant. His shift ended at 5:30 p.m. but his body wasn't found until the next day.

Catheline Fontaine questions why her brother was working by himself. She believes her brother's death could have been prevented if someone had checked on him.

"His truck was left in the yard, and everything, so it's like, how could you forget about somebody like him?" she asked. "He was so caring."

Fontaine took the unusual step this week of making a plea to Alberta workers in a full-page newspaper ad which was purchased by her brother's employer, Bird Construction.

"Look out for each other, we're all in this together and make sure you've all gone home safe, don't work alone," the ad reads. "I hope you remember this page and take care of each other and then my brother didn't die for nothing."

Fontaine says the ad was also a tribute to her brother.

"I just wanted everybody to know who he was and what he meant to me, because I guess I never really told him myself," she said.

"Honestly, that ad really tugs at my heartstrings," said Gil McGowan, president of the Alberta Federation of Labour.

McGowan argues workplace safety is a shared responsibility.

"We simply can't continue putting all responsibility for getting home safe at the end of the day on the shoulders of the individual workers," he said.

"We also need employers holding up their end and we need governments holding up their end and right now, in too many cases, that's not happening."

Occupational Health and Safety and the RCMP continue to investigate Chris Fontaine's death.

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