Blog Post #454 – Employer Fined $25,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Mike Vallee, an employer who operated a demolition and salvage business, was fined $25,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after one worker was killed and another was injured.

On June 25, 2010, workers employed by Mr. Vallee were at a demolition project at a private home in Oro-Medonte. The workers were removing a dilapidated mobile home from the property. They had removed the interior paneling and aluminum siding from the home when the roof suddenly collapsed on two workers inside the structure. One of the workers was killed and the other was seriously injured.

The mobile home was in damaged condition before demolition started. The structural integrity of the home was further diminished by the removal of its interior walls and exterior cladding during the demolition process.

Mike Vallee pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure that the mobile home was demolished systematically from the highest to the lowest point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Linda Debartolo. In addition to the fine, 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Mike Vallee was found guilty of of a contravention of section 216.1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Demolition and dismantling of a building or structure shall proceed systematically and continuously from the highest to the lowest point unless a worker is endangered by this procedure.”

Here we have another employer, be it a small one that did not have a safety game plan to complete the work. I wonder if Mike Vallee ever had any training in structural integrity? I suggest that was the case in this matter. Why would anyone decide to demolish anything without checking the structure?

Mike Vallee was also small enough of a business to warrant a small fine. Small comfort to the victims’ families!

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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