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    SUSPENDED PLATFORM MULTIPLE FATALITY UPDATE

    Canadian companies, directors and supervisor face charges over 2009 deaths

    The Ontario Ministry of Labour has instigated legal proceedings arising from the death of four workers during an incident on Christmas Eve 2009.

    The men died when a suspended scaffold platform collapsed during balcony repairs on a Toronto apartment building. The men fell 13 storeys leaving four dead and a fifth man seriously injured.

    Government spokesperson Matt Blajer said charges include matters related to: use of devices to prevent falling, platform design and loading, training, instruction and supervision plus maintenance/ inspection.

    The tragedy led to a review of the system of H&S regulation in Ontario and a ‘blitz’ of construction sites that resulted in the shutdown of 784 dangerous jobs on sites throughout the province.

    Metron Construction Corp:  faces 30 charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a director faces an additional 16 charges and a supervisor faces eight charges.

    Swing ‘N’ Scaff Inc.: faces four charges and a director for the company faces three charges.

    Comment

    This tragic incident highlights the potential for multiple fatalities when using suspended scaffold platforms and the precautions required.

    The speed with which prosecutions have been instigated and the laying of charges in respect of the companies, directors and a supervisor will be striking to those involved with UK construction safety.

    In the UK, proceedings in respect of health and safety offences are often subject to long delay and usually restricted in scope to the corporate entities involved.

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