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Employer convicted in December 2020 construction death in Windsor

Don Wall
Employer convicted in December 2020 construction death in Windsor

The first of three trials under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) resulting from workplace fatalities in December 2020 has concluded with a guilty plea by an individual employer.

On Dec. 29, 2020 a worker died following the collapse of a wall during a demolition job three days earlier at a jobsite on Cantelon Drive in Windsor. After multiple trial postponements, on Dec. 9, 2022, Sandeep Lally pleaded guilty in Windsor court to failing to ensure safety regulations in the OHSA were followed.

A fine of $25,000 plus a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge was imposed on Lally by the Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor.

A1 Quality Concrete, Demolition and Excavation of Halton Hills, had faced five charges relating to failing to provide supervision, alert a worker to a hazard and follow procedures contained in the OHSA, and Lally had faced five similar counts as an employer. The remaining nine charges against A1 Quality and Lally were withdrawn.

Specifically, Lally was convicted of failing to ensure the measures and procedures prescribed by s. 216(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, were carried out at the project, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the act.

A second trial stemmed from a fatal mishap that occurred in Toronto Dec. 14, 2022 when 48-year-old construction worker Andrew Orfanakos of Newmarket, Ont. died as a result of injuries suffered on a job at Widmer and Adelaide streets. That case is still at the pre-trial stage.

An employer, Limen Group Const. (2019) Ltd. of North York, faces two counts in that case including failing to follow OHSA procedures or take precautions to protect a worker, while four other charges were laid against individuals – two workers and two supervisors. One of them was laid against a worker for allegedly using or operating equipment, a machine, a device, or a thing, and/or working in a manner that endangered another worker, contrary to section 28(2)(b) of the act.

Pre-trial motions were scheduled for Jan. 11 and Feb. 7.

The third case stems from two deaths resulting from the Dec. 11, 2020 collapse of part of a low-rise residential building under construction on Wonderland Road in London. Eight charges were laid against iSpan Systems LP and East Elgin Concrete Forming Ltd. under the OHSA. That case has been adjourned to Jan. 13, 2023 to be spoken to.

Construction workers John Martens of Langton, Ont. and Henry Harder of Tillsonburg, Ont. died in the incident.

There were seven deaths at construction sites in total in December 2020.

Follow the author on Twitter @DonWall_DCN.

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