This story was updated at 11:40 am Friday, March 18
A man killed in a workplace accident in Oshawa is being remembered as a hard-working and “godly” young man who is now being grieved by family and friends.
Daniel Vanheyst, 22, an employee of Eco Tree Care, died after an incident involving a wood chipper around 8 am Wednesday, March 16 in the area of Waverly Street North and Adelaide Avenue. He was declared dead by paramedics, according to reports from the scene.
The Ministry of Labor is investigating.
Oshawa Director of Operations Mike Saulnier called the accident a tragedy.
“I will never understand how somebody can go to work in the morning and not come back,” he said. He expressed condolences to those affected by Vanheyst’s death, and noted the incident had a profound impact on workers.
“The crews were hit hard,” he said. “It’s hard to understand.”
Kingston-based Eco Tree Care, had been awarded a contract to remove ash trees in an effort to stop the advance of the emerald ash borer, Saulnier said. The company was vetted prior to the contract being awarded, he said.
“They are very professional. They have the right tools. They have safety protocols in place,” he said.
Vanheyst, a resident of Verona, studied Forestry and Arboriculture at Sir Sanford Fleming College, according to his Facebook account. The account indicates he has been employed by Eco Tree Care since August of 2020.
In another social media post, a family friend said Vanheyst’s loved ones are devastated by his sudden passing.
“I remember when Daniel was born … I held him as a baby. He grew up to become a godly young man and very hardworking,” Mimi Kashira Haws said in a Facebook post. “My heart aches for his family.”
“Please remember this family in your prayers,” the post adds.