It’s described as a rare occurrence for a transmission tower to collapse during assembly, but CBC News has learned there have been five separate collapses in Manitoba since February.
The incidents happened between Feb. 8 and May 3 of this year, and were all the result of human error, according to Manitoba Hydro. Hydro is reviewing construction procedures as a result, and hundreds of other towers are being inspected to make sure they are safe.
“These incidents are extremely rare. We are taking extra precautions to ensure safety of all workers. Each failure occurred in an isolated area, and no one was injured,” Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Bruce Owen told CBC News.
“This stuff should not be happening. We should not be having this conversation,” Owen said. “We’re going to fix it.”
The employees involved in the incidents work for companies contracted by Manitoba Hydro to put up the new towers.
The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 2034, which represents some of the workers, wants Manitoba Hydro to dig deep for answers.
“They need to do a full investigation into these lines for the safety of the public and the safety of employees,” said IBEW business manager Mike Velie. “We’ve already had five towers collapse. This isn’t safe, and it certainly isn’t reliable.”
“If Manitoba Hydro needs to redo a lot of these towers, that’s what it is going to take,” Velie said. “It’s best to do it now before it comes into service or they continue building additional towers.”
Velie said one of the IBEW workers at the site of the Feb. 8 incident near Gillam was so traumatized by the collapse he left the profession.
“He’s left the province now. It is like being at the site of a major catastrophe. ‘I could have just been killed here,'” Velie said. “These are 100-foot plus towers that…