$133,000 fine for workplace death, injury

An Ontario business and two of its supervisors have been fined following the death of one worker and the injury of another

Matheson Constructors Ltd. and two supervisors have pleaded guilty and have been fined a total of $133,000 after a fall at a Toronto Transit Commission garage in which one worker died and another suffered broken bones.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour says that the company was engaged by the TTC to work at its Malvern Garage and on August 19, 2013 work was being supervised by Phil Lindsay and Karl Jedan.

Two new workers were given an orientation from Lindsay on their task of insulating overhead pipes for which they would be using an elevated platform, commonly called a scissor lift. On realising that an open overhead door would prevent them reaching one area of the pipes, the workers spoke to Jedan but were told that only TTC employees were able to close the door and that they should avoid working near it until it had been closed.

Later the door was lowered by a TTC employee at the request of the workers, but this should have been done by a designated TTC inspector. The door was not ‘locked-out’, a procedure that would stop it operating by isolating the power supply. The workers then carried out work near the door.

As they were working, at a height of 20 feet, a mechanic pushed a cart through the doorway and an electronic eye caused the door to open, knocking the scissor lift and sending the two workers falling to the concrete floor below.

One of the men suffered blunt head trauma injuries and died several days later as a result. The other suffered broken bones.
The court found that Matheson Constructors failed as a constructor to ensure that the safety of workers was protected, contrary to Section 23(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and fined the company $125,000.

The court also found superintendents Phil Lindsay and Karl Jedan guilty of failing as supervisors to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to Section 27(2)(c) of the act - specifically of failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that an overhead garage door could not contact an elevated work platform upon which two workers were working. They were each fined $4,000.

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