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Local man killed in construction accident 'always made sure you had a smile on your face'

Corey Phillips, 52, was killed June 24 at a construction site in Barrie; memorial service set for Saturday in Orillia

A memorial service will be held Saturday afternoon for the 52-year-old man who was killed in a tragic workplace accident last week in Barrie.

The Ministry of Labour investigation into what led to Corey Phillips' death on June 24 at the Dunlop Street West construction site is ongoing.

Emergency crews were called to the construction site that day around 2 p.m. Phillips was pronounced dead at the scene.

It remains unclear what happened to cause his death. This week, there was still a section of the site, fronting onto Dunlop Street, that had been cordoned off with a white tarp. A large steel beam could be seen protruding from underneath the tarp. Bouquets of flowers have also been placed in the fence. 

The scene of the fatal accident is an affordable housing project near Boys Street, east of Anne Street. 

GoFundMe page  set up by Phillips' employer, North Steel, on June 25  is also raising money for his family. As of Friday afternoon, more than $13,000 had been raised toward the $25,000 goal.

A memorial service is being held Saturday, July 3, beginning at 1 p.m., at the Doolittle Chapel of Carson Funeral Home on Coldwater Street in Orillia.

Jordan Reed told BarrieToday he worked with Phillips as recently as three weeks ago, before Phillips switched companies.

“I worked with him for a year and a half,” said Reed. “Great guy, great family guy who always looked out for everyone on site and always made sure you had a smile on your face.”

The GoFundMe page says Phillips “was a loving husband, father, brother, friend, son, uncle, cousin, colleague and grandfather.”

Phillips' obituary also says he was engaged to be married.

This week, Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development spokesperson Kalem McSween told BarrieToday that, as of June 25, a ministry inspector along with an engineer and ergonomist had returned to the Barrie scene to continue the investigation. 

“One requirement was issued to the employer, North Steel, and two requirements were issued to the constructor, Bertram Construction Ltd.,” he said.

McSween added: “When an inspector determines that a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act is occurring, they issue orders to the appropriate workplace party to bring them into compliance.” 

An order can be issued to various workplace officials, including an employer, a supervisor, or a worker. Examples could include putting a guardrail on a mezzanine, clearing debris to prevent trip hazards, protecting workers from electrical hazards, etc. 

However, McSween said a requirement is different.

“Requirements are types of orders issued when an inspector needs to gather information or determine and verify compliance,” he said. “Examples include a requirement to provide documents, records or information or even to keep employees away from the scene (hold the scene).”

BarrieToday contacted North Steel, but they declined to comment.