THE EMPLOYERS' EDGE
Project Manager convicted of Criminal Negligence in Workplace Fatalities
On December 24, 2009, six workers entered a faulty swing stage to repair balconies on the 13th floor of an apartment building in Toronto. Only one worker was wearing fall protection. The swing stage split into two pieces and four workers fell to their deaths, one worker survived the fall but had devastating injuries and the one worker that had fall protection on was safely rescued from the ordeal.
Bill C-45, which is now part of the Criminal Code, affects organizations and individuals who direct the work of others. In this matter, charges were laid under the Criminal Code. We have reported on the past charges and convictions to the company that employed the workers, Metron Construction. The company pleaded guilty to criminal negligence and was fined $750,000 plus the 25% victim fine surcharge (vfs). The Director of Metron Construction was fined $90,000 plus the 25% vfs. The supplier of the swing stage – Swing N Scaff Inc. was charged and convicted of failing to ensure the swing stage was in good working condition and received a fine of $350,000.00.
On Friday June 26, 2015 Vadim Kazenelson, who was the project manager on December 24, 2009, was found guilty of four counts of criminal negligence causing death, and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. In this case, the Judge stated that Kazenelson was aware that fall protections were not in place but let the workers board the swing stage anyway. The Judge found that Kazenelson “showed wanton and reckless disregard” for the workers. Sentencing in this matter will take place at a later date and we will report on the sentence imposed. The next court appearance is scheduled for October 16, 2015.
In Ontario, the law regarding working at heights changed on April 1, 2015.
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