Alec Caldwell on the Toronto house collapse tragedy
Alec Caldwell has been cautioning renovation contractors of the risks of such a massive tragedy, through his work with CARAHS, for the past two years on this site
September 10, 2014 by Alec Caldwell
Editor’s Note: Alec Caldwell of CARAHS has crusaded long and hard for safety practices in home renovations industry to reach the same level of serious concern as typically seen on big commercial construction jobs. The renovation site “pancake collapse” house-implosion disaster yesterday in North Toronto underlines Alec’s message in a terrible way.
This 19 year old man dies on the scene yesterday in the Toronto house collapse – and he never will never go home to his family after work, ever again. All his future dreams, adventures and expectations have gone. What a huge loss to his family, as they begin to start on their long road home from this recovery. Never a full recovery for many.
His workmates are now in hospital fighting for survival, with serious lower body injuries, apparently. Three permits were obtained for the renovation in the Bedford Park area of North Toronto, one of them reportedly to strengthen the basement foundation.
The disaster is now under an Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL) investigation – which will take time, believe me.
When the MOL investigates, their job is simple: to find fault and prosecute. Those found in non-compliance of the Ontario Occupational Health & Safety Act face fines and jail terms as the courts decide. It’s probably not top of anyone’s mind this morning, while we all mourn this young lad who died, and think of his loved ones, but I certainly hope that the general contractor (unnamed so far) had documented policies and procedures in force that included a policy for emergency rescue. So few renovation contractors have thought of this. This could be the contractor’s only defense in court, although it’s too early to identify any blame for this project whatsoever. For more on renovation site safety policies and procedures, read the little black box
I understand the second worker is very seriously injured. It will take time and he could well be left with a lifetime disability (again, we don’t know, and sincerely wish him and his family a full recovery), well after WSIB claim payments stop paying him. So many of the issues I have talked about in this column for two years come to the fore after this tragedy.
By providing education and training, CARAHS reduces your risk of fines, job site closures and prosecution under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Passion – Commitment – CARAHS – Toll free 1 866-366 2930
CARAHS has over 150 online Health & Safety e-courses
Alec CaldwellAlec Caldwell is the Founder of CARAHS, a Health & Safety Organization. We are approved providers by the Ministry of Labour (Ontario) to teach Working at Heights Training (Pro#34609) Visit the Ministry of Labour's web site to view our listing
All posts by Alec Caldwell
Print this page