Workers Health & Safety Centre

Shortcuts kill worker! Supervisor competency on trial!

An Ontario employer and two supervisors were recently fined $625,000 after being convicted of Occupational Health and Safety Act violations which caused the death of a worker.
At sentencing on March 21, 2024, the employer, Limen Group was fined $600,000. The senior supervisor with overall responsibility for the work was fined $10,000, while the working foreman on site at the time of the incident was fined $15,000. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by law. 
To date, no Criminal Code charges have been laid.
The worker, Andrew Orfanakos was killed when on December 14, 2020, a concrete block improperly hoisted and moved by crane over a Toronto worksite fell and crushed the 48-year-old carpenter.  

In her reasons for the guilty judgement published on November 29, 2023, the Honourable Justice Apple Newton-Smith found the employer, Limen Group Const. Ltd., failed to ensure proper attachment points for the movement of the blocks were utilized that were suitable for the task. As such, the employer violated section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and rigging and hoisting requirements prescribed by section 172(1) of the Construction Regulations. Newton-Smith also found the employer, along with two supervisors failed to take the reasonable precaution to ensure workers engaged in the movement of blocks were sufficiently trained and supervised regarding the hazard of using embedded rebar as the hoisting point. Thus, they violated respectively employer and supervisor general duty provisions set out in 25(2)(h) and 27(2)(c) of the OHSA.

Register now for mandatory WHSC Supervisor Training offered in-person and virtually. Save 20% until April 30.

Unsafe practices promoted

According to court documents, Limen Group was contracted to carry out formwork on a multi-story condominium building and was using shotcrete to accomplish this. Shotcrete is a process where wet concrete is sprayed to form walls and creates waste. A common practice, which was used on this worksite, is for this wet waste to be placed in wood bins containing rebar. When the waste dries the rebar protruding from concrete is used as a hoisting point for short lifts of no more than a few feet.

On the day of the deadly incident a crane supplied by the Limen Group and operated by one of their employees was being used to move blocks of waste concrete from a below ground parking garage level to the ground level of the worksite well beyond what would be considered a short lift. Still, on each of the lifts undertaken this day, blocks were attached to the crane chains using the embedded rebar as a hoisting point. Testimony in court by the worker responsible for the rigging suggested he and his direct supervisor rigged loads this way “when they were in a rush.” Others testified they’d seen the supervisor rig loads this way and witnessed the supervisor talking to the worker responsible for the rigging about the loads a couple of times, including on the day of the fatality, directing him to “just hook it up”. The worker also said he was never trained how to safely rig a load at this worksite.

Supervisor competence questioned

The Honourable Justice Newton-Smith offered that at best the worker was not sufficiently supervised and at worst was directed by his supervisor “to perform his job in this hazardous and ultimately fatal manner.”
Ontario’s Occupational Health & Safety Act (OHSA) requires employers to appoint a competent person as a supervisor. A competent person is:
  • qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
  • familiar with the OHSA and Regulations that apply to the work, and
  • knowledgeable about any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.

Employers are also required to ensure supervisors complete occupational health and safety awareness training and be competent to carry out their significant obligations to protect workers. This training must be completed within one week of performing work as a supervisor.

WHSC training can help

Workers Health and Safety Centre (WHSC) offers the training needed to help ensure supervisors are competent. Our Supervisor Health & Safety Training course, for instance, provides an engaging learning experience including the exploration of relevant case law and provisions of the Criminal Code and the OHSA to give participants a clear understanding of their extensive obligations to protect workers. 


WHSC, Ontario’s official government-designated training centre, is also a leading provider of OHS training for the construction sector including rigging and hoisting. To learn more about securing this life-saving training for your workforce reach out to any one of our Training Services Representatives.
Need other essential and legally mandated training such as joint health & safety committee certificationGHS-WHMISworking at heights or workplace violence and harassment? Check out our complete in-person and virtual training scheduleIn honour of Day of Mourning for the first time ever, WHSC is offering all training bought in the month of April at a 20 per cent discount.
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Want to read more about the Limen Group Const. Ltd. case?

Reasons for conviction
Reasons for sentencing

Need more information?
Contact a WHSC training services representative in your area.
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