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Family of construction worker killed on Toronto jobsite speaks out, seeks answers

Angela Gismondi
Family of construction worker killed on Toronto jobsite speaks out, seeks answers
SUBMITTED PHOTO — Andrew Orfanakos of Newmarket, Ont. died in an incident on a construction site in Toronto Dec. 14. Orfanakos, 48, married wife Saiyud a year ago.

The family of the victim killed at Toronto construction site earlier this week is urging anyone with information to come forward.

Andrew Orfanakos, 48, of Newmarket, Ont. died Dec. 14 while working on a construction site located at Widmer and Adelaide streets in the cityThe constructor on the project is Centreville Construction Ltd. and the employer is Limen Group Constructors LtdTwo Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development (MLTSD) inspectors attended the scene and the investigation into his death continues.

“We have received reports of what happened that are not being shared and articled yet,” Cassandra Orfanakos, the victim’s niece and goddaughter, told the Daily Commercial News Dec. 16.

“The MOL (Ministry of Labour) has shared some of the information with us, but based on the information we got from anonymous sources there is more to it. If anyone is willing to come forward and speak up about it we would really appreciate that. We just want the real story to get out there so it can be prevented in the future.”

Cassandra is a health and safety coordinator and has worked in both the construction and industrial sectors.

“For me, being in health and safety, it was really important to get this information out there,” Cassandra explained. “When I see an incident like this, I automatically understand that there was a sequence, a cascade of events that happened that resulted in this that could have been prevented. Very rarely does something just happen when everything was done correctly. It’s important for me to get that message out there that there are safety regulations and laws and companies are required to follow them for a reason.”

The family was notified of the incident by the MOL. Andrew had been working in construction for about 15 years.

“He got married about a year ago and his hope was that in the next few yearswhen he was eligible for retirement, that him and his wife would finally be able live the rest of their life together. They were going to move to Thailand,” Cassandra said. “She was with my grandparents when this happened. Obviously we’re all in shock.

His wife and my family cannot explain the grief and devastation that comes with not only losing a loved one but losing him in such an unexpected and horrific way,” she wrote on social media.

The family has started a GoFundMe page Fundraiser by Alexia Angel : Toronto construction worker death (gofundme.com).

“My grandparents are left with the cost of planning their son’s funeral and his beloved wife, who recently moved to the country, is left without the love and support of her husband and no means to assist in this process,” reads the post. Any help that can be offered to my family at this time is greatly appreciated.

According to reports, the victim didn’t have vital signs when emergency crews arrived on the scene and paramedics performed CPR.

Initiallyit was reported that the worker fell from scaffolding,” but in an update sent to the Daily Commercial News Dec. 16 the ministry said the worker sustained fatal injuries while on a construction site and did not provide further details.

The MLTSD also said two requirements were issued to the constructor and two requirements were issued to the employer. Two MLTSD inspectors and one MLTSD engineer attended the project on Dec. 15 to continue the investigation.

This incident is one of a few that has happened in less than a week in the industry. Two workers were killed and four injured in a partial building collapse in London, Ont. on Dec. 11 and another worker was killed on an Oshawa, Ont. jobsite Dec. 15, with another worker sustaining injuries.

“This is a tragic incident and has deeply affected the construction industry this close to the end of the year,” said Giovanni Cautillo, president of the Ontario General Contractors Association (OGCA) in an email to the Daily Commercial News. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family of the deceased and injured workers during this time. We as an industry are devastated.

The OGCA also issued the following statement in response to the tragedies overall.

“The OGCA is strongly recommending that all contractors across the province take a moment for a Safety Stand Down with their workers to reflect on these recent tragedies,” it reads. “After reflecting, we encourage a safety talk, noting that safety is everyone’s responsibility, that workers and supervisors need to stay focused, and that the construction industry needs to remain steadfast in our commitment to ensuring every member of our construction family goes home safely.”

Funeral services are being planned for Andrew Orfanakos but will be restricted to family due to COVID-19.

 

Follow the author on Twitter @DCN_Angela.

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