Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
Two companies were fined $200,000 on February 23, 2019 over a fatal incident in which a freight elevator door fell on a worker two years ago.
The incident took place on November 15, 2016 at a building in downtown Toronto, owned by “Toronto Standards Condominium Corporation” (TSCC) 1703. Events at the property are operated by “Events at One King West Ltd.” also owned by TSCC 1703.
According to the Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, the building has a manually operated freight elevator. On both sides of the elevator car itself is a door that operates similarly to a manual grad store by pulling a strap from the car’s ceiling to the floor.
On that day, a worker employed by Events was transporting holiday decorations on the freight elevator, which stop short of the third floor. The trap worker was able to open the front car door and pull himself out of the elevator. Upon re-entering the elevator, that worker noticed a black stage cord attached to the front car door got caught on the upper portion of the second-floor landing door. The worker began to pull the upper portion of the landing door up with the elevator car. At the same time, another worker employed by Events returned to the elevator deceive anything still needed to be unloaded and he observed that the top panel of the landing door had opened. The Events worker looked into the hoist-way opening created by the landing door being pulled apart. The black stage cord then snapped and the upper portion of the landing door crashed down onto the worker, causing a fatal blunt impact injury.
Investigation revealed that the black stage chords was a replacement for the original strap, which had been broken about two weeks before the incident. Events pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the freight elevator was maintained in good condition, while TSCC 1703 violated safety regulations by permitting the elevator to be operated without ensuring that necessary repairs were made, rendering it unsafe.
Events failed to ensure that the freight elevator was maintained in good condition, contrary to section 25(1)(b) of the OHSA which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(b) the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”
TSSC 1703 failed to comply with section 9(1) of Regulation 209/01 by permitting the elevator to be operated without ensuring the necessary repairs were made, rendering it unsafe.
Section 9(1) of the Ontario regulation 209/01 “Elevating Devices” states,
“No person shall operate an elevating device or cause or permit it to be operated if it is in an unsafe condition.”
There was no reason for this accident to have happened if safety protocols were in place and the two companies had actually read the regulation that applied to them.
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Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.