Archive for January, 2016

Project supervisor jailed in construction accident that killed Mississauga dad, three others

Four workers, including one from Mississauga, died when they fell 14 storeys at an Etobicoke construction site back on Christmas Eve, 2009.

Monday in a Toronto courtroom, the project manager involved the deadly scaffolding collapse, one of the worst workplace accidents in the GTA in recent memory, was sentenced to three-and-a-half years in prison.

Vadim Kazenelson, a former supervisor for Metron Construction, was found guilty last June of four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily injury for the Dec. 24, 2009 incident at 2757 Kipling Ave.

Vladimir Korostin, 40, of Mississauga, and Toronto residents Aleksey Blumberg, 32, Alexander Bondorev, 25, and Fayzullo Fazilov, 31, were killed when their scaffold collapsed at the Kipling Ave. apartment building under construction.

Then-21-year-old Dilshod Mamurov, who was not secured properly to his lifeline, clung briefly to the broken equipment before falling and suffering broken legs and a broken spine.

A sixth worker, Shohruh Tojiddinov, who was properly connected to his harness, survived unharmed. Tojiddinov previously testified in court that, as project manager, Kazenelson didn’t insist crew members be attached to lifelines. He also testified Kazenelson asked him to lie about the incident afterward.

Metron Construction was ordered to pay a $750,000 fine after pleading guilty to criminal negligence causing death in 2012.

scaffold accident

The company’s owner, Joel Swartz, was also ordered to pay $112,500 after pleading guilty to four violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Evidence showed Metron’s scaffold had a defective design that could not withstand the weight of the workers and their equipment. There were also not enough lifelines to secure the workers.

Korostin, a divorced father of two, always put his girls first, and left Israel in part because he worried about them doing mandatory military service once they completed high school, family members said.

He also thought Canada would be a better fit for his family, who are Orthodox Christian and originally from the tiny community of Guzar, Uzbekistan, which is predominantly Muslim.

The Ontario Federation of Labour (OFL) meanwhile, launched a “Kill a Worker, Go to Jail” campaign immediately after the tragedy and called the sentencing decision for Kazenelson “historic” and noted that “his conviction and sentencing is the first of its kind in Ontario.”

“This court has the opportunity to make history by throwing Mr. Kazenelson behind bars, but justice won’t be fully served as long as only supervisors go to jail,” OFL President Chris Buckley said in a prepared statement before Monday’s hearing.

 

OSHA to fine N.H. roofer with record of skipping safeguards

A New Hampshire roofing contractor is facing $152,460 in proposed fines by federal regulators for exposing his employees to falls and other hazards.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration cited Litchfield, New Hampshire-based contractor Michael Cahoon, doing business as High & Dry Roofing, after an inspection found employees working at heights more than 20 feet without fall protection and proper ladder safeguards, according to a news release issued by the agency Tuesday.

A followup inspection two days after the initial one in June found the same hazards again, leading regulators to cite Mr. Cahoon for two willful violations of workplace safety standards, according to the release and citations.

The inspection also identified four repeated violations for hazards similar to those cited in 2012 after OSHA inspections at High & Dry Roofing worksites in Hampton and North Hampton, New Hampshire, including failing to provide fall protection for employees working on scaffolds, lack of hard hats and eye protection for workers and failure to secure the operating parts of an air compressor from contact, according to the release.

OSHA also issued four serious citations for placing scaffolding too close to a live, 240-volt electrical line; inadequate scaffold access; using ladders on scaffold platforms; and failing to train workers on fall protection, according to the agency.

After the latest violations, the company was placed in OSHA’s Severe Violator Enforcement Program, which keeps an eye on employers who, according to the agency, have demonstrated indifference to their Occupational Safety and Health Act obligations through willful, repeated or failure-to-abate violations.

“This is a repeat violator who knowingly and needlessly refuses to follow basic safety procedures,” Rosemarie Ohar Cole, OSHA’s area director for New Hampshire, said in a statement. “High & Dry Roofing employees face the risk of death or disabling injuries every time their employer denies them vital and legally required safeguards.”

Mr. Cahoon could not be immediately reached for comment.