Family seeking answers after man dies following injuries at Edmonton food processing facility

Family seeking answers after man dies following injuries at Edmonton food processing facility
Family seeking answers after man dies following injuries at Edmonton food processing facility

The family of a man who died after being injured while at work in an Edmonton food-processing facility is seeking answers about what happened.

Samir Subedi, 33, was injured in the early hours of March 2 at the Sofina Foods facility at 9620 56th Ave. in south Edmonton. The company, headquartered in Markham, Ont., is an international manufacturer of meat products.

Samir Subedi died in hospital the same day he was injured. He leaves behind a pregnant wife and one-year-old daughter.

Sabir Subedi said his brother was a family man who cared about the people around him.

“He always takes care of his parents, his family, cares about everyone as a friend, always helps everyone to society, to the community.”

Samir Subedi was born in Nepal and worked in India before coming to Canada five years ago. He completed his master’s in nutrition and food science at the University of Alberta and then went to work at Sofina.

Sabir Subedi said it’s a testament to his brother’s influence that more than a thousand people came to the funeral earlier this month. He said his brother had become friends with many people through his charming character.

Paresh Pandey was a close friend who knew Samir from the day he landed in Canada.

“He was so close to us, always smiling … and never complaining or anything,” Pandey said. He said Samir, an avid sportsman, was well-known within his community.

Pandey says he and his wife have struggled to work since hearing about the death, unable to concentrate on anything else. Condolence calls continue to pour in from all over the world, he said.

Pandey said much is still unknown about the circumstances around Samir’s death.

“After the EMS arrived, we know what happened,” he said. “But before that, he’s still in limbo. We don’t know anything.”

Sabir Subedi said his brother was treated at the University of Alberta Hospital’s burn unit.

He said health officials told the family the cause of death was lack of oxygen and carbon monoxide poisoning.

“I just want to make sure… they are doing the proper investigation for us to understand what happened here,” he said.

He said he hopes no other family will ever receive similar news.

The company ‘saddened,’ the spokesperson says

CBC News asked Sofina Foods and Occupational Health and Safety for more details about the death.

In a statement, an OHS spokesperson said an active investigation was launched after a worker was found injured and unconscious at a food processing facility. The worker died in hospital, the spokesperson said.

Sofina Foods spokesperson Shannon Denny said safety is a top priority for the company.

“We are deeply saddened by the unexpected death of one of our team members,” Denny said in a statement Thursday.

“We immediately began an internal investigation, which is ongoing, to understand how and why this happened, and we are working together with the appropriate agencies.

“Until the investigation is complete, it is premature to come to any conclusions.”

Denny said the company extended its condolences to Samir Subedi’s friends, family and community. Sofina Foods is actively supporting the family, she said.

Sabir Subedi said the company’s human resources department had been in contact with him, but had not offered any additional financial assistance to his brother’s wife and children beyond basic entitlements such as life insurance.

“They should care for those people so that they will not have any issues in their lives.”

Denny said the company has inquired about short-term financial needs and is reviewing additional areas for further financial support.