July 10, 2014
By Stephanie West
Toronto, Ontario – Another, needless tragic death occurred at downtown Toronto construction site when a 20 year old construction worker fell to his death. "This is the second fall resulting in a death at a construction site in Toronto in the past year," said Patrick Dillon, Business Manager of the Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario.
"It is absolutely unacceptable that five years after the Kipling Avenue swing-stage deaths of four workers we are still seeing falls that are costing workers their lives," Dillon said. "We have had a provincial review, the establishment of a Chief Prevention Officer and supposedly more enforcement, yet deaths continue to take place."
"It's time that we take stronger action that shows the impact that workplace deaths have on the family and the community," Dillon implored. "I believe that all managers, executives and owners of companies where a workplace death takes place should be compelled to attend (subject to the family's wishes) the funeral of workers who die on the job. The Minister of Labour, Chief Prevention Officer, Chair of WSIB and all those who are responsible for workplace safety should also be required to attend."
According to Dillon, "until we change attitudes about workers' safety, these tragic events will continue to rip apart families, cause trauma in the workplace and create a climate of fear for workers. Government and industry must take this issue head-on if we want to avoid more funerals."
The solution, says Dillon, is "stronger construction regulations beefed up with better and more stringent enforcement. In addition, we need more inspectors from the trades that have real-world construction experience so they know what to look for on a site."
"The Prevention leadership in this province is not sensitized to the death of workers," said Dillon. "If they were, then they wouldn't look at these deaths as numbers and would work harder to ensure that these types of totally preventable deaths do not occur in Ontario. Our goal should be zero workplace fatalities now."
***The Provincial Building and Construction Trades Council of Ontario represents 150,000 trades workers throughout the province.