The Trinidad and Tobago Electricity Commission has launched an investigation into an incident which claimed the life of a 32-year-old employee after a tree branch fell on him.
According to reports, just after 11am on Friday, Ahkenaton Quashie, a line clearer, was struck by a falling branch during a tree trimming exercise in Les Coteaux. He was pronounced dead on the scene.
Speaking with Newsday Tobago, Manager, Corporate Communications at T&TEC, Annabelle Brasnell said a six-member investigative committee which includes representatives of the OWTU, T&TEC’s Health Safety and the Environment Department and Management, was being convened.
Brasnell said T&TEC’s Assistant General Manager - Human Resources Jacqueline Cheesman has flown to Tobago to visit the Quashie family and personally express the Commission’s regret and condolences at this tragic incident.
She added that counselling services were being arranged for Quashie’s colleagues, particularly those who were present during the incident.
In a media release on Friday, Public Utilities Minister Senator Robert Le Hunte extended condolences to Quashie’s family. The release said the minister has been appraised of the situation and says that the Ministry is working closely with a leadership team in Tobago, and an investigative committee has been set up which includes the members of the representative union the OWTU and representatives of the Health and Safety and Legal Units of T&TEC.
OWTU also extended condolences to Quashie’s family, friends and work colleagues, and said it will be an integral part of the ongoing investigation to determine the cause of this accident as two officers have already been assigned to the investing team.
The OTWU said in a release that the accident occurred around 11am while a T&TEC Tree Trimming Crew was engaged in cutting a large branch which was in close proximity to the Commission’s high and low voltage installation in the area.
OWTU said Quashie suffered fatal head injuries after being struck by a falling branch and that the incident was ia tragic reminder of the dangerous nature of the work performed by the Commission’s Field Staff.
On May 16, five-year-old schoolgirl, Zakiah Lorde, also died after a tree branch fell on her as a tree cutting exercise was taking place outside her home in Black Rock. Lorde was standing outside her home waiting to go to school at the time.
Relatives were alerted by Lorde’s screams and had to remove the child from underneath the branch which had pinned her to the ground. She was taken to the Scarborough General Hospital where she remained warded in an unconscious state up until the time of her death on May 19.