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$15,000 fine levied under OHSA for death at OPSEU workplace

We the North
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The supervisor of a township garage operated by the Town of Lake of Bays has been fined $15,000 for negligence in the death of a worker at an OPSEU job site.

David Ransom, 48, a contractor worker, was killed on Mar. 19, 2008 at a garage operated by the Town of Lake of Bays. Ransom was not an OPSEU member but he was killed at an OPSEU workplace in Local 380. He was killed as he was directing a snow plough backing-up into a garage to hook up to another piece of equipment to tow out of the garage.

OPSEU is deeply concerned when anyone dies in any workplace and was disappointed that the employer’s first response was to appeal the Ministry of Labour Inspector’s orders to have the vehicle inspected to ensure it was safe and to train workers in the hazards of towing. The appeal was subsequently adjourned due to the Ministry of Labour’s investigation.

The supervisor, Lauri Romanko, was found guilty last week of failing to ensure that the worker stayed clear of the intended path of travel of the plough and in full view of its driver. In addition to the $15,000 fine, the court imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge. The court also made a probation order requiring Mr. Romanko to perform 120 hours of community service and to be retrained before operating similar equipment in the future.

No criminal charges were laid against the employer under Bill C-45 in this case.