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Toronto construction company fined $90,000 after elevator shaft fatality

DCN News Services
Toronto construction company fined $90,000 after elevator shaft fatality

TORONTO — Toronto-based Dominus Construction was recently fined $90,000 after a person entered a building and fell down an elevator shaft, later succumbing to their injuries.

No signs were posted on the site as required by law warning of danger or that entry was forbidden, indicates a Ministry of Labour (MOL) release.

The conviction was handed down July 27.

The incident occurred on May 17, 2016 at a condominium construction project at 25 Queens Quay East in Toronto.

The MOL was notified by Toronto police that a person who did not have authorization to enter the building had fallen into an elevator shaft in a unit that was to be equipped with its own elevator.

According to the MOL report, a worker installing flooring on the second floor of the unit heard a noise downstairs, went to investigate and heard a person at the bottom of the elevator shaft calling for help.

The individual fell about 15 feet down the shaft and later died from the injuries.

It was common practice at this construction site to close the access doors to the unit but to leave them unlocked while the workers were inside, the release indicated, adding doors to the elevator shaft were typically held in the closed position by wedging a piece of wood through the pre-drilled knob hole of the door and into the pre-drilled knob latch hole in the door frame.

Although there were some signs on the external fencing at the site indicating “Danger due to Construction,” it was insufficient to warn of the hazard of the open elevator shaft, the MOL concluded.

Also, there was no “Danger — entry forbidden” sign on any of the doors leading into the shaft, as required by Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation, section 44).

As such, the defendant failed to ensure that adequate warning signage was in place and thereby violated section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, Dominus Construction was fined $90,000 in a Toronto court by Justice of the Peace Sunny Ng and Crown Counsel Tom Schneider.

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