LRT tunnel is safe for everyone, former worker says

A former construction worker on Ottawa’s light rail transit project is speaking out following complaints from concerned workers about unsafe practices and procedures within the tunnel.

Rick Dimuzio was employed as a contract worker for several months back in 2013 at Kent and Queen. Dimuzio said he was hired to help prepare the site for tunneling.

“I was a laborourer,” he said. “We did the main excavation to lower Chewrocka down into the tunnel.”

Dimuzio never worked inside the tunnel, but said that during his time on the project OLRT and RTG made safety a priority.

“They really pumped up the safety. They really pumped it,” Dimuzio said.

Weekly safety meetings, a day-long pre-project safety training session at the old OC Transpo HQ, requirements to wear personal protective equipment and daily inspections were all standard practice, according to Dimuzio.

“I’ve heard a lot of stories that it’s not safe and they are trying to make it as safe as possible for everyone working on that tunnel,” he said.

Dimuzio’s comments come on the same day as the President of the Ottawa and District Labour Council met with city officials and executives with OLRT Constructions and the Rideau Transit Group following public concerns raised by workers about the conditions within the tunnel.

‘We are certainly hopeful that on a go forward basis, the workers down there will feel comfortable in respect to their safety,” said Sean McKenny, the President of the Ottawa and District Labour Council.

McKenny said the meeting with the officials is a good step forward. He said the group has agreed to meet at least once a month to talk about any issues.

“The discussion that happened today, we are certainly pleased about that,” he said.