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February 28, 2008

Occupational Health and Safety

Court fines Concrete Works Ltd. after worker dies in trench collapse

ST. CATHARINES

Tony Garofalo’s Concrete Works Ltd. was fined $120,000 and a supervisor fined $5,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice this week after pleading guilty in the death of a worker in a trench collapse.

Court heard that, on July 13, 2006, the company was waterproofing the basement walls of a house in Niagara Falls. Workers had dug a trench along the side of the house for the work. A worker was in the trench when its wall collapsed and was buried under soil. Co-workers tried resuscitation, but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the trench did not have shoring or a support system, as required under section 234(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, the Construction Regulation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

It also lacked a slope, as defined in the regulation, section 234(2)(f).

The company pleaded guilty as a constructor to failing to comply with section 234(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, contrary to section 23(1) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Antonio Garofalo, supervisor of Tony Garofalo’s Concrete Works Limited, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that access to and exit from a work area below ground was from stairs, runway, ramp or ladder, as required by section 70(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91. This was contrary to section 27(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

DCN News Services

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