Worker contributed to own death: Court

Court finds equal culpability between supervisor killed in construction site accident and two contractors on the site
By Jeffrey R. Smith
|Canadian Employment Law Today

Two Ontario companies have been convicted for safety violations in the death of a worker at a construction site but the worker himself was partly to blame, the Ontario Court of Justice has ruled.

In February 2006, the City of Ottawa was upgrading and replacing a pumping station and water main. Thomas G. Fuller and Sons, an Ottawa civil engineering firm, was hired to oversee the the installation of new systems. While Fuller looked after the installation of cement-coated steel large-diameter pipes outside the station, it awarded a subcontract to Black and McDonald (B&M), another Ottawa company, to do mechanical and electrical work inside.

Fuller didn’t have much experience with installing the type of pipe being put in outside, so it offered part of that contract to B&M, since the latter had some expertise. B&M had enough on its plate so it declined, though it offered some of its workers to help.