Blog Post #1273 – Worker Fined $10,000 After Injury from Falling Debris at Toronto Hotel

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A person in a room below an area undergoing renovations was struck by debris from through the ceiling, where a worker was cutting through the floor. The defendant worker failed to ensure that the core drilling system was used in accordance with the manufacturer’s operating manual.

On January 18, 2019 the defendant, a worker for Promer Management Inc, was working at a construction project at the Westin Toronto Airport Hotel located at 950 Dixon Road in Etobicoke. The project consisted of the construction of an addition to the hotel which was intended to be used as a fitness centre.

The work that day consisted of drilling through-holes for drainage in a concrete floor using a core drilling system. That area of the worksite was above a ballroom that at the time was being used for a business meeting.

The manufacturer’s operating manual for the drill indicates that it is designed for wet core drilling. When used in that manner, the drilled-out core may fall out of the drill when drilling is complete.

The operating manual states that “when drilling through-holes, the area below the ceiling, floor or behind the wall where the drilling is taking place must be secured as the drilled-out core may fall out.”

Contrary to its intended use, the defendant was operating the drill for dry core drilling rather than wet. The defendant believed that, when operated in this manner, the cored concrete cylinder would stick in the drill and be lifted up when drilling was complete. As such, the defendant did not ensure that the ballroom below was secured.

A segment of the cylinder approximately 6.25 inches in height and 4.5 inches in diameter dropped out of the drill through the ceiling of the ballroom, fell approximately 21.5 feet, and struck a person in the ballroom below. The injured person required medical attention and experienced issues related to the injury.

By failing to ensure that the area below the floor where the drilling was taking place was secured, the defendant failed to work in compliance with the provisions of the regulation, contrary to section 28(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, Judge Leslie A.P. Chapin fined the defendant, Giuseppe Scarfone, $10,000 in Toronto’s Old City Hall court; Crown Counsel Evan Schiller.

The court also 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Giuseppe Scarfone was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91, section 93, subsection (3) which states,

All vehicles, machines, tools and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.

This is a direct contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 28, subsection 1(a) which states,

A worker shall,

(a)  work in compliance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations;

The laws are there for a reason. Was there not a JHA prior to the job being done? Probably not. Was the employee given written instructions on this work? In this case, since the worker was found guilty, the answer MUST be yes!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Safe Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.


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