Court Bulletin - International Cooling Tower Inc. fined $150,000 for health and safety violation

    WHITBY, ON, Feb. 22 /CNW/ - International Cooling Tower Inc., an
Edmonton, Alberta-based company that specializes in the construction and
repair of cooling towers was fined $150,000 on February 19, 2008 for a
violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in serious
injuries to a young worker.
    On July 22, 2005, an apprentice carpenter employed by International
Cooling Tower Inc. was working on a work platform in the interior of a cooling
tower located at 1801 Hopkins Street in Whitby. The worker was believed to
have walked along a platform to obtain some fill material to be inserted into
racks within the tower. The worker fell approximately 6.1 metres (20 feet)
through an uncovered opening to the floor of the empty concrete well below and
suffered serious spinal injuries resulting in paralysis.
    A Ministry of Labour investigation found that at the time of the incident
the worker was wearing a full body harness with a single lanyard and that the
worker was unaware of the opening. The worker's lanyard was not attached to a
fixed support or lifeline to prevent a fall. Further, the worker should have
been using a double or retractable lanyard. Although workers had been
instructed to tie off their fall arrest when they were at risk of falling, the
worker was to determine when that risk existed. More training should have been
provided to the worker to ensure the worker was wearing the proper fall
    The ministry's investigation also found that the lighting was inadequate
for the worker to have seen the opening.

    International Cooling Tower Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to:
    -  failing to take every reasonable precaution reasonable in the
       circumstances for the protection of a worker by ensuring that the
       worker used appropriate fall protection; and/or
    -  failing to ensure the worker was protected from openings in a work
       platform; and/or
    -  failing to ensure that there was adequate lighting to protect the
       health or safety of the worker.
    This was contrary to Section 25(2)(h) of the act.

    The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace R.G. Boychin of the Ontario
Court of Justice in Whitby. In addition, the court imposed a 25-per-cent
victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The
surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist
victims of crime.


                        Court Information at a Glance

    Location:       Ontario Court of Justice
                    605 Rossland Road East
                    Whitby, Ontario.
                    Courtroom 103

    Judge:          Justice of the Peace R.G. Boychin

    Date:           Feb. 19, 2008, 10:00 a.m.

    Defendants:     International Cooling Tower Inc.

    Matter:         Occupational Health & Safety


    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Bruce Skeaff, Ministry of Labour, (416)
326-7405; Deanna Exner, Crown Counsel, Legal Services Branch, Ministry of
Labour, (416) 326-1350

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Ontario Ministry of Labour

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