Jury makes safety recommendations following inquest into worker’s death

A coroner’s jury in Thunder Bay, Ont., made nine recommendations for two provincial ministries, the Canadian Standards Association and the construction industry after concluding an inquest into the 2011 death of a construction worker.

Gustavo Argueta, 24, died when the elevated work platform he was working on overturned. Argueta was inspecting the underside of a new bridge at the time and fell 15 metres to his death, according to reports.

The three-day inquest resulted in the following recommendations:

Ontario Ministry of Labour

· Develop regulations requiring individuals certified on the operation of elevated work platforms be retrained and recertified after a defined period of time

· Develop regulations requiring any training program for elevated work platforms developed by the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities be mandatory for workers and direct supervisors

· Develop regulations regarding the documentation of daily inspections for elevated work platforms

· Implement more stringent minimum penalties for altering or disabling safety mechanisms on equipment.

Ontario Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities

· Develop and implement standardized, mandatory training specific to elevated work platforms, in collaboration with the Infrastructure Health and Safety Association. The training should include theoretical and practical operation of the classes of machines used in the construction industry, along with training on the specific machines used

· Look into the possibility of establishing construction industry mentorship programs for young, inexperienced workers

· Establish training based on existing Canadian Standards Association standards and the manufacturers’ operating procedures and best practices.

Canadian Standards Association

· Working with elevated work platform manufacturers, explore the possibility of implementing interlock technologies that can enhance the safe use of elevated work platform machines.

Construction Industry

· Hold daily "tool box" meetings that include discussion on daily objectives and the potential for any safety concerns involving those plans.

Argueta's employer, Teranorth Construction, pleaded guilty earlier this year to a charge by the Ministry of Labour for failing to ensure the work platform was used on a firm and level surface. The company was fined $115,000, as well as a 25 per cent victim surcharge.