Mexican worker killed on apple farm
Prince Edward County farm sets up trust fund for hardworking father
By James Pascual
PRINCE EDWARD COUNTY — A seasonal Mexican worker was killed at a Prince Edward County apple farm last month after being crushed by a 10,000- lb. filled water tank that fell on top of him.
The worker was killed Sept. 10 at Campbell’s Orchards, a pick-your-own apple orchard and market garden, owned by Colin and Dianne Campbell on Rednersville Road at Ameliasburgh, 10 minutes south of Belleville.
Colin Campbell and Fausto Martinez-Izazaga, 38, were on a gravel road near the on-farm store "attaching a large water tank to a tractor when the attachment suddenly fell, trapping the employee between (the tank) and the tractor," OPP reported. "The farmer tried to free the worker himself but was unable to. Emergency crews were called to the scene and were able to eventually separate the two pieces of equipment."
After trying to revive Martinez-Izazaga, who was married with two children, a boy 11 and girl, 9, and living g near Veracruz, Mexico, the emergency response team pronounced him dead at the scene at about 2:40 p.m.
"It was a freak accident," Campbell later told the Belleville Intelligencer, adding that he began to scream for help when the water tank gave way. He said he couldn’t sleep for several nights and regained his voice after more than a week.
The Agriculture Workers Alliance says this is the 13th death of a migrant worker in Ontario this year. The alliance raised $225,000 for families of the 10 migrant workers, mostly from Peru, who were killed in when their passenger van collided with a flatbed truck in Western Ontario earlier this year.
In a prepared statement on their farm website, the Campbells said that they mourned the loss of "one of our finest workers, who died in a tragic accident on our farm."
The Campbells also said that Martinez-Izazago "had worked with us since the spring; he was a wonderful, humorous, hardworking man that made light of the hard work he did every day."
In a separate statement, the Campbells discussed the ongoing investigation into the accident by the Ministry of Labour, which includes examining farm safety procedures. "We are cooperating fully with everyone involved, including the Ministry of Labour and the Mexican consulate," the statement said. "We are doing everything we can to ease the pain of this tragic event."
The investigation will determine if the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act was violated, an offence of up to $25,000 for an individual and $50,000 for a corporation.
Farming is the most dangerous occupation in Canada. There are about 20 farm fatalities in Ontario each year.
The Campbells have set up a trust for the Mexican family. You can donate through the farm website at campbellsorchard.com or by sending a cheque to: Campbell’s Orchards, RR1 Carrying Place, 1633 Rednesrville Road, Rednersville, ON, K0K 1L0. Cheques should be made payable to "Account in Trust for Olivia Burgos Parra."
Campbell planted a maple tree and ordered a plaque in memory of Martinez-Izazago, who dreamed of bringing his family to Canada.