May 22, 2020
Yukon experiences first workplace fatality of 2020
On May 16, Yukon miner Diane Gow was killed by a motor vehicle she had lost control of. This tragic incident occurred at her family’s placer mine, Right Fork Mining. Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board (YWCHSB) mourns this loss to the territory’s mining community and expresses deep condolences to Ms. Gow’s family.
Ms. Gow had been operating an older-model pickup truck to haul water up a slope at the edge of the placer claim. She lost control of the vehicle. It descended over a steep embankment and finally settled in the creek below. Ms. Gow suffered a serious crushing injury after she left the vehicle and was impacted by it. Ms. Gow died at the scene.
Occupational Health and Safety is actively investigating the incident along with the Yukon Coroner’s Service to understand its specific cause and circumstances. Until details are known, we can all benefit from reflecting on the best practices to prevent a similar incident from occurring when we operate mobile equipment such as a motor vehicle, either at work or in our personal lives.
- Maintain mobile equipment as per the manufacturer’s recommendations and sound mechanical practices. Keep Records of maintenance done.
- Always wear seat belts when operating mobile equipment.
- Maintain control and stay alert when operating mobile equipment.
- Conduct adequate pre-operational checks and correct any safety defects before operating mobile equipment.
- DO NOT operate mobile equipment if safety defects are found.
- Lock out and tag out mobile equipment if safety defects are found.
When a small community like Yukon experiences a fatality in the workplace it causes us all to pause and reflect on what we can do better to stay safe and healthy. We join Ms. Gow’s family in mourning their loss even as we encourage other workplaces to redouble their efforts to prevent similar incidents from occurring.
– Kurt Dieckmann, YWCHSB President/CEO
- The truck in use was a 1954 2-ton “dually”.
- Diane Gow was an owner/operator of Right Fork Mining.
- The placer mining claims where the incident occurred are located approximately 85 kilometres from Carmacks on the Free Gold Road.
Manager, Social Marketing and Communications
Yukon Workers’ Compensation Health and Safety Board