The first of three trials of construction employers charged in a series of Ontario construction deaths in December 2020 will reach the judgment stage next month, amidst new details of allegations made against a Toronto employer.
The Limen Group Const. (2019) Ltd. is charged with eight violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) for its role in a Dec. 14, 2020 death at a Toronto construction site. Charges were also laid against two supervisors and two workers.
It has been learned that the death onsite was allegedly related to an incident in which a crane hoisting concrete blocks unsafely used embedded rebar as attachment points.
According to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MOL), the accused had scheduled appearances in Toronto court in February, March, April and May with the charges now scheduled for judgment on July 19.
A second trial is related to a death that occurred Dec. 29, 2020 following the collapse of a wall three days earlier at a jobsite on Cantelon Drive in Windsor. The employer, A1 Quality Concrete, Demolition and Excavation of Halton Hills, originally faced five charges related to failing to provide supervision, alerting a worker to a hazard or following procedures contained in the OHSA. An individual faced five similar counts as an employer.
Following a brief appearance in court earlier in the year, on May 9 the matter was adjourned to June 13 to be spoken to.
The third case involved a double fatality stemming from the Dec. 11, 2020 collapse of part of a low-rise residential building under construction on Wonderland Road in London.
John Martens of Langton, Ont. and Henry Harder of Tillsonburg, Ont., workers involved in pouring a concrete floor at the site, died in the incident.
Seven charges were laid against the two firms and an eighth charge was laid against an individual for allegedly providing negligent advice that endangered a worker.
Following brief appearances earlier this year, on May 30 the matter was adjourned to June 27 to be spoken to.
The four deaths in December 2020 represented half of the construction fatalities recorded in the province that month, making it the deadliest month in MOL records in at least half a decade.
A court Information document prepared for the Toronto trial offered more details of the charges than were previously available.
In relation to one charge against Limen Group, it is alleged that the defendant failed to ensure that a crane that was hoisting waste concrete blocks used attachment points that were suitable for that use.
In another charge against Limen Group, the employer was accused of failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect a worker. In particular, the information states, it is alleged the defendant failed to ensure workers engaged in moving the blocks were sufficiently trained or supervised regarding the hazard of using embedded rebar as the hoisting points.
SIDEBAR: Remembering the deadliest December
TORONTO – Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer released details of eight construction deaths that occurred in December 2020:
- On Dec. 2, a man in his 60s, working at a commercial construction project in Toronto, fell while on a scissor lift. The worker was tied off and slipped, hitting his head and succumbing to injuries.
- On Dec. 8, a 69-year-old man working on a bridge project in Georgian Bay fell into an on-site cement/grout batch plant mixer and succumbed to his injuries.
- On Dec. 11, two men, aged 21 and 26, were fatally injured when the floor they were pouring with concrete collapsed at a multi-level residential project in London. The workers were subsequently identified as John Martens of Langton, Ont. and Henry Harder of Tillsonburg, Ont.
- On Dec. 14, a 49-year-old male was fatally injured when the scaffold he was on was struck by a piece of concrete that fell while being hoisted at a multi-level residential project in Toronto.
- On Dec. 15, a 54-year-old male was fatally injured when he was crushed by a precast concrete panel that was being unloaded at an institutional project in Oshawa. The worker, a member of LIUNA, was later identified as Paul Moro of Essa, Ont.
- On Dec. 17, a 31-year-old male was fatally injured when he was hit by a vehicle while directing traffic at a multi-level residential project in Scarborough.
- On Dec. 26, a 24-year-old male was fatally injured when he was struck by a falling beam during demolition at a commercial project in Windsor. He died three days later.