TTC pleads guilty to failing to protect subway workers, fined $165,000

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TTC pleads guilty to failing to protect subway workers, fined $165,000

TORONTO, Dec. 10 - The Toronto Transit Commission pleaded guilty and was fined $165,000 in the Ontario Court of Justice for failing to protect the health and safety of workers who were overcome by carbon monoxide gas in a subway tunnel in 2006. Judge Robert Bigelow at the Old City Hall courts presided at the sentencing hearing. Seven workers and their foreman comprised a man-made mineral fibre (MMF) crew from the Track and Structure Department working in the early morning hours of February 7, 2006, in the northbound tunnel between Eglinton and Lawrence stations. Their work was part of a $15.7-million construction project to repair the concrete liner of the tunnels on the Yonge and Spadina lines. This crew was removing MMF material to permit access to the concrete for repair. At about 3 a.m., the crew established a work area 1,500 feet (457 metres) north of the Eglinton station. Part of their equipment on a flatbed subway car included a gasoline-powered generator and two gasoline-powered power washers. At about 4:13 a.m., TTC Transit Control received a call from the crew foreman that crew members were overcome by fumes. Toronto Fire Services were notified at 4:20 a.m. and responded along with emergency medical services. Eighty-four minutes after the foreman's call, the workers were rescued when their work car arrived at the Eglinton station platform at 5:37 a.m. Toronto Fire Service reported carbon monoxide readings of over 1000 parts per million (ppm) when they first arrived at the incident location. By 5:30 a.m., levels were in the 550-580 ppm range. The readings indicated that the workers had been exposed to carbon monoxide concentrations at least 40 times the current eight-hour average occupational exposure limit of 25 ppm and 10 times the short term exposure limit of 100 ppm. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the TTC breached Section 47 (b) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 and Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act when it failed to ensure that no internal combustion engine was to be operated in a building or other enclosed structure unless the exhaust gases and fumes from the engine were discharged directly outside to a point sufficiently remote to prevent the return of the gases or fumes; or unless there were an adequate supply of air for combustion and adequate natural or mechanical ventilation to ensure exhaust gases and fumes would not accumulate. Charges against a general superintendent are to be heard in court in February and March, 2008. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, 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 Old City Hall, Courtroom 117 Toronto, Ontario Judge: Judge Robert Bigelow Date: December 10, 2007/9:30 a.m. Defendants: Toronto Transit Commission Matter: Occupational Health & Safety ------------------------------------------------------------------------ Disponible en français www.labour.gov.on.ca Contact Info For further information: Bruce Skeaff, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405; Brian Blumenthal, Crown Counsel, Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7948 HELP | CONTACT US | PRIVACY | IMPORTANT NOTICES © Queen's Printer for Ontario, 2008-2009 — Last Modified: February 15, 2009 For further information: Bruce Skeaff, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7405; Brian Blumenthal, Crown Counsel, Legal Services Branch, Ministry of Labour, (416) 326-7948