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Elevator Fatality Results in $200,000 in Fines to Event and Condominium Companies

Court Bulletin

Elevator Fatality Results in $200,000 in Fines to Event and Condominium Companies

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: Events at One King West Ltd., and Toronto Standards Condominium Corporation 1703, both at 1 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Location of Workplace: 1 King Street West, Toronto, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker was killed when a freight elevator door fell onto the worker.

Date of Offence: November 15, 2016.

Date of Conviction: February 25, 2019.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, Events at One King West. Ltd. and Toronto Standards Condominium Corporation 1703 were fined $100,000 each (total $200,000) by Justice Malcolm McLeod in Toronto court; Crown Counsels Jennifer Malabar and Amanda Landre.
  • The court also 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.

Background:

  • The building located at 1 King Street West in Toronto is owned by Toronto Standards Condominium Corporation 1703 (TSSC 1703). Events at the property are operated by Events at One King West Ltd. (Events), which is also owned by  TSCC 1703.
  • The building has a freight elevator, licensed by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, that is used to carry freight, not passengers; the doors operate manually, not automatically.
  • On both sides of the elevator car itself, there is a door that operates similarly to a manual garage door (the car gate door) which is operated with a pull strap from the car's ceiling to floor and travels with the elevator car.
  • In addition, each floor has its own doors - the landing doors - to enter the elevator car. These doors are bi-parting  and part vertically to meet in the middle. These doors are also closed with pull straps located on the upper portion of the inside and outside of the landing doors.
  • On November 15, 2016, a worker employed by Events was assisting in the delivery and set-up of holiday decorations. The decorations were loaded on a freight elevator.
  • The holiday decorations were unloaded on the second floor and another worker, employed by a film production company to operate the elevator, took it to the third floor.
  • The elevator stopped short of the third floor, trapping the film production company's worker, who was able to open the front car door and be pulled out of the elevator.
  • Upon re-entering the elevator, that worker noticed that a black stage cord that had been attached to the front car door was out of sight and reach because the front car door was in the 'up' position and the cord could no longer be reached to close the door.
  • When the elevator ascended from the second to the third floor, the black stage cord that was being used as a replacement pull strap on the car gate door got caught on the upper portion of the second floor landing door, and began to pull the upper portion of the landing door up with the elevator car.
  • At the same time, the worker employed by Events returned to the elevator to see if anything still needed to be unloaded, and appeared to have observed that the top panel of the landing door had opened.
  • The Events worker looked into the hoistway opening created by the landing door being pulled apart.
  • The black stage cord then snapped and the upper portion of the landing door crashed down onto the worker, causing a fatal blunt impact injury.
  • The black stage cord was a replacement for the original strap usually used to close the car gate door. It had been broken on or about October 29, 2016 - about two and one-half weeks before the incident - and was initially replaced by a lanyard on that date.
  • On October 31, 2016, the usual evevator operator (who was employed by Events) noticed the lanyard and replaced it with a cream coloured telephone wire, and also notified the maintenance manager of Events of that temporary repair.
  • Sometime shortly before the incident, the telephone wire was replaced with the black stage cord. It is not clear who replaced the telephone wire with the black stage cord but it appears the telephone wire was still in place up until November 14, 2016, the day before the incident.
  • Investigations were conducted by the Ministry of Labour, which has responsibility for the enforcement of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and by the Technical Standards and Safety Authority, which has responsibility for the enforcement of the Elevating Devices Regulation (Ontario Regulation 209/01).
  • Events failed to ensure that the freight elevator was maintained in good condition, contrary to section 25(1)(b) of the OHSA.
  • TSSC 1703 failed to comply with section 9(1) of Regulation 209/01 by permitting the elevator to be operated without ensuring the necessary repairs were made, rendering it unsafe.

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