An Ontario Appeal Court has ruled a $200,000 fine for the 2009 swing stage collapse tragedy “fails to convey the need to deliver a message on the importance of worker safety.”
In June, 2012, Metron Construction entered a guilty plea on one count of criminal negligence causing death in connection with the swing stage collapse that killed four workers and seriously injured another. The Crown asked for a $1 million fine against the corporation and subsequently appealed the $200,000 fine.
A panel of three judges heard the appeal and felt the original fine was “demonstrably unfit”. Justice Sarah Pepall, writing for the panel, explained “Workers employed by a corporation are entitled to expect higher standards of conduct than that exhibited by the respondent (Metron Construction). In the circumstances, it falls to this court to impose a fit and just sentence.”
The judges increased the fine from $200,000 to $750,000. Metron will also have to pay a victim impact surcharge equal to 15 per cent of the fine, bringing the total to $862,500.
Many believe this ruling will send a clear message to employers to follow occupational health and safety laws including the duty to inform and train workers, supervisors and joint health and safety committee members.
The guilty plea was the first by an Ontario corporation charged under the Criminal Code
Bill C-45 amendments that became law in 2004.
The Workers Health & Safety Centre offers many training programs aiming to help workplaces comply with mandatory training requirements including:
For more information about these and other WHSC training programs visit our online catalogue.
Want to read the appeal court ruling in the Metron case?
Want to read more about the original Metron guilty plea?
Work at Heights
Supervisor duties (in-class and online)
JHSC Certification Training
Criminal Code Bill C-45
Want to learn more about WHSC training and information services?