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BTL to review SOP following technician's fatal fall

By Michelle Sutherland

Belize Telemedia Limited (BTL) is reportedly wrapping up their investigation into the unfortunate incident involving their employee Edwin Sho, who tragically lost his life earlier this week after he fell to his death from off of a utility pole in Roaring Creek Village.

While we were made to understand that the company is still in the process of compiling statements from witnesses on the ground as well as talking to Sho's coworker who was with him at the time of the incident, they are also following up with Belize Electricity Limited (BEL) and the Belize Police Department, both of whom have also launched a parallel investigation into the matter.

Kendra Santos, the chief human resource officer at BTL, told the Reporter on Thursday that while they are still awaiting the outcome of those two other investigations their priority this week is to get all facts in so that they can go over them and eventually close the investigation. That will allow them to officially commence a complete review of their Standard Operating Procedures (SOP), in an effort to ensure that such tragedy does not reoccur.

“A company of our size routinely looks at and I know that BEL as well will look at SOP as we move forward. We have a procedural manual like any other company and every year we take the opportunity to look and review it. Even outside of this unfortunate incident this would have been something that in a few months we would have reviewed anyway. Nobody can deny that given that this tragic incident has happened that we need to ensure that we conduct the review as a matter of priority. So as a matter of urgency we will now look at what we have in place to see if there are any opportunities for us to enhance what we have. We wouldn't have a tragic accident like this and just sit on our hands and think that everything that we have in place is airtight, so I know that we are going to look at it very soon,” explained Santos.

Since the incident, Santos said that the BEL's safety personnel have met with the company to discuss the matter. Additionally, Santos said that the company has also been providing support for Sho's coworkers and have also met with the family personally to discuss with them and to offer their support moving forward. Santos said that an incident such as this one has never happened before in the history of the company and has come as a shock to everyone.

When we asked her whether it was standard procedure for the employees to use a ladder to climb the utility post, she confirm that it was “normal,” however, they are attempting to find out what went wrong procedurally, and what had happened between the time that Sho and another coworker had been dispatched to the village to conduct an installation at a customer’s home based on a service request.

“It seems as though we are not getting a very clear answer so far as to what happened. Everybody is hearing that there was a loud noise and then would have witnessed the aftermath. So we are trying to close the gap, to be honest as to precisely what happened when the guys were deployed to close the service request to the point where everybody heard this loud noise with him and the lampost hitting the ground. So I think that is why everybody is trying to be very diligent with time and who witness what instead of making a lot of assumptions,” noted Santos.

For context, the two utility companies reportedly have an agreement with each other that BTL uses the utility poles to run their cables and in return pays a fee to BEL for that service. Sho who had been working with the company since 2017 as a service operations and maintenance technician had reportedly gone to the village to carry out an installation. However, credible sources say that when he climbed the utility pole, it snapped in half and he fell to the ground where he died instantly.

One witness, identified as Jason Twist, who was at the scene, said that there was no way to tell that the post was rotten and that it had snapped from the bottom. Twist said that when he went to inspect the post, he found out that it was hollow inside.

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