CALGARY, Alberta – Devan Canada has implemented a new safety policy in light of recent lost time incidents on many of its northern drilling locations. In a series of twelve related incidents, staff and contractors sustained various injuries during heavy equipment races.
We found out that there is an underground heavy machine racing circuit taking a toll on our staff. We didn’t believe it at first, but it’s true. We can’t have that kind of thing happening on our locations, especially when the human cost can be so high. We have several employees in hospital right now after a grader missed a curve and flipped near Ft. St John. Unacceptable, and staff continuing to partake in these events will be terminated. – Vance Hoedown, Safety and Social Responsibility Manager
The events reportedly began a year ago when two subcontractors building a road made a small wager on who could get to the end first. The challenge went on to become folklore in the region and soon there was an explosion of such events.
At present, there is even an online betting pool you can go to and see who is racing who and for what stakes. There has also been a new heavy equipment performance shop opened in Grande Prairie to modify stock skidsteers and loaders so they can be competitive in the high dollar events.
There is nothing wrong with these races, and they should leave these poor bastards alone. It’s not like they’re racing Hyondalon rockets around public streets. These machines are very stable and they race on private land. I fully support the new racing circuit and we opened this shop to give the guys what they need to win.
We put turbos, superchargers, lockers, light weight carbon fiber hoods, roll cages, and even sport suspensions into all kinds of Caterpillar and JCB equipment. We stay away from John Deer simply because we don’t want every farmer in Saskatchewan approaching us to turn tractors into hunting vehicles. – Pierre Frenchy, owner of Big Kitty Performance
While Devan is the first operator to announce policy changes directly relating to the events, other operators are also feeling the pain. One event between a Bendovus loader and a PNRL Vacuum Truck ended in 7 injuries when the loader lost, its driver angry, resulting in it pushing the vacuum truck off the road and down a small hill near Grande Cache.
This new safety policy is being reviewed by Devan’s peers at the moment, but it is also rumoured that the AER will step in along side WCB and put investigators out to monitor the region and police any further activities.