A family is grieving after a Nanaimo man died at a work site at a water treatment construction project in Parksville this week.
Joe Hermann, 40, had gotten engaged just two days before Monday’s accident, said his father, Georg Hermann.
“He came over on Sunday; he showed me and my wife a ring and everything. He was so ecstatic,” Georg said. “And then the next day at 3:30 [p.m.] I got two RCMP officers come to my door. Jesus. I would never want to wish this even to my worst enemy.”
He said his son had just started his new job six or seven weeks earlier and really liked his new boss.
“He loved driving trucks,” Georg said, adding that Joe started working his first job at 13 years old and later spent years working in the oil fields in northern Alberta and then driving a fuel truck before beginning his new job.
Jason Hermann said he’s been told that his brother was helping another worker load trusses and said one of the trusses fell over on top of Joe, killing him instantly.
Jason said he’s a safety officer at his own job and one of the first to respond in the event of a workplace accident.
“I get it. I get these things happen, but they are preventable,” he said. “I don’t know what they had as far as hazard assessments before they do certain jobs, but I guess that’s for WCB to figure out and investigate. It’s an unfortunate, freak accident and there’s nothing you can do about it, really. I don’t put any blame on anyone.”
WorkSafe B.C. released a statement that it had been contacted by RCMP a little after 12:30 p.m. Monday about the incident at a construction site at 1082 Herring Gull Way in the Parksville industrial park. B.C. Coroners Service is investigating and the City of Parksville sent out a news release expressing condolences.
Joe had no children and had been in the process of a divorce. A real sports fan, he had recently ordered a Team Germany soccer jersey and had been looking forward to the upcoming World Cup.
“People are fragile,” Georg Hermann said. “You never know what you’ve got.”