Ministry of Labour lays charges following workplace death of Ethan Allard
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has laid charges against the company that employed Ethan Allard, who died in a Toronto construction site on Jan. 16, 2017.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour has laid charges against the company that employed Ethan Allard, who died at a Toronto construction site on Jan. 16, 2017.
Allard, 24, of Petawawa was killed when he became tangled up in a concrete hopper. A pump operator on a wet-mix shotcrete (sprayed concrete) job, Allard had about six months' experience on the machine and was chipping away some of the dried concrete on the chopper blades at the end of the day.
Among the ministry charges against Torrent Shotcrete Canada Ltd.:
- The company allegedly failed to ensure that a grate sensor on a concrete hopper was maintained in good condition.
- The company allegedly failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in the Occupational Health and Safety Act were carried out. (A grate sensor had been rendered inoperative).
- That Torrent Shotcrete Canada Ltd. allegedly committed the offence of failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker. In particular, the accused allegedly failed to provide information and/or instruction or supervision to Ethan Allard, regarding the hazard of cleaning and/or maintaining a concrete hopper when a safety sensor on the covering grate had been rendered inoperative.
The case will be heard March 1 at the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto.
For Ethan's parents, Linda and Shane Allard, the court case will provide badly needed closure, and a hope of preventing other similar deaths.
“For me, as a dad, I just want to make sure that no one else gets killed liked that,” Shane Allard says.
The maximum the company can be fined is $500,000.
Following the incident, company president Michael Luers told Postmedia that pump operators “are supposed to lock up the machine before you put the grate up. That's the procedure we have in place.”
A Torrent spokesperson said Thursday that Luers, based in the company's head office in Vancouver, had no comment on the ministry charges.
Several workers, including Ethan's older brother, Tyson, have said it is common practice in the industry to disable the safety sensor to speed things up. Tyson has years of experience in the shotcrete business.
Three days after the fatal incident, the ministry slapped a series of work orders and stop-use orders on the company. One of the orders was to reinstall a disabled safety feature on the concrete pump.
“The big charge, as far as I'm concerned, is disconnecting the safety switch,” says Shane Allard.
“If they didn't do that, Ethan would be alive today. He might have fallen in the hopper and hurt himself, but he'd be alive.
“That safety switch was disconnected purposely for speed, time and money on the construction side.”
The father of 13, who works as an auditor for Canadian Nuclear Laboratories, plans to be in the courtroom on March 1. Moreover, the Allards hope that other companies and the public at large will get the message and that the ministry will have more inspectors in the field ensuring safety procedures are in place.
“I don't have hate in my heart,” Allard says, breaking down. “I just want it right. Please don't have another young lad trapped in that thing.”