Construction site fatality of non-worker results in $90,000 fine

Individual fell down elevator shaft

Construction site fatality of non-worker results in $90,000 fine

Dominus Construction has been fined $90,000, plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, for the death of a worker on a condominium construction project in Toronto.


On May 17, 2016, the Ministry of Labour was notified by Toronto Police Service that a person had fallen into an elevator shaft on a construction project located at 25 Queens Quay East in Toronto. The building was a condominium project of Dominus Construction Corporation.


The incident occurred in a unit that was to be equipped with its own elevator. The elevator equipment had not yet been installed in the elevator shaft.


A worker installing flooring on the second floor of the unit heard a noise downstairs, went to investigate and heard a person at the bottom of the elevator shaft calling for help. Emergency Services were called.


The individual fell about 15 feet down the shaft and later died from the injuries.


The individual did not have authorization to enter the building and investigations were not able to determine how or why the individual entered the building.


There were temporary doors installed at three entrances to the elevator shaft identical in appearance to other interior doors in the unit: simple wooden doors, without a handle/knob or lock. The knob hole was drilled out.


It was common practice at this construction site to close the access doors to the unit but to leave them unlocked while the workers were inside. Doors to the elevator shaft were typically held in the closed position by wedging a piece of wood through the pre-drilled knob hole of the door and into the pre-drilled knob latch hole in the door frame.


Although there was some signage on the external fencing at the site indicating "Danger due to Construction," this signage was insufficient to warn of the hazard of the open elevator shaft, and there was no "Danger — Entry Forbidden" sign on any of the doors leading into the shaft, as required by Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation, section 44).


As such the defendant failed to ensure that adequate warning signage was in place and thereby violated section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.


Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour