08/06/2013 06:27 EDT | Updated 10/06/2013 05:12 EDT

Family and friends mourn victim of falling steel plate in Montreal

MONTREAL - The family and friends of a language teacher who was killed when he was hit by a falling slab of steel gathered Tuesday for his funeral.

Saad Syed, 32, was walking to work past a construction site in downtown Montreal on Monday when the huge metal plate broke loose from a payloader and hit him.

He was rushed to hospital but was declared dead of his injuries.

His funeral was held at the Islamic Centre of Quebec and he was remembered as a gentle, nice person by mourners.

Syed taught English at a Montreal language school.

Quebec's workplace safety board is investigating the incident and has said that a hook holding the steel plate in place as it was being moved by an excavator suddenly opened.

The tragedy occurred as thousands of Quebec's construction workers began returning to their jobs following their traditional two-week summer vacation period.

Coincidentally, the health and safety board had issued a statement just a few hours before the death to remind some 160,000 construction workers to be vigilant on the job.

There were 7,537 accidents in Quebec's construction sector in 2012, with 42 per cent of them taking place between the busy months of August and November.