Brampton Might be the Most Dangerous Place to Work in Ontario

Severe injuries and often death are consequences of unsafe workplaces, which, here in Brampton, are becoming too common for comfort.

It’s disturbing that these workplace injuries are happening at all, let alone so often in our city. Brampton might actually be the most dangerous place for workers in the entire province.

According to the Canadian Association of Labour Media (CALM), in 2017, workplace safety violations happened more in Brampton than they did in any city in Ontario.

Graph courtesy of CALM

A total of 12 fines were handed out to individuals and organizations for workplace injury, death, or unpaid wages in Brampton — a stark number in comparison to several other cities.

In fact, Brampton saw more fines in 2017 than there were in all of eastern or northern Ontario.

Graphic courtesy of CALM

This year, Steelcon Fabrication Inc. was slapped with a $70,000 fine after steel beams fell on a worker who was never trained on how to safely secure the beams in 2016, I.G. Machine & Fibers Ltd was fined $65,000 following a guilty plea after a worker’s arm was pulled into the rollers of a laminator machine in 2016, IKO Industries Ltd. was fined a grand total of $85,000 after hot limestone poured onto a worker at about 400 degrees Fahrenheit in 2016, and many more troubling incidents were dealt with by the Ministry of Labour this year.

One particularly disturbing incident was the death of Mark Attallah in 2015.

On April 21, 2015, Attallah was killed at Gore Meadows Library and Community Centre, which was under construction at that time. According to Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Forma-Con was contracted to provide formwork and case cement for construction.

A crane was brought to the site for hoisting, but on April 9, 2015, licensed crane operator and Forma-Con worker Andry Sokhan texted Forma-Con supervisor Gordon Graham saying that the crane posed a danger on the worksite.

Graham said that the crane should be shut down, however the crane continued to be used.

The crane operator hoisted the load and after receiving a signal to do so, began to lower the boom.”

Then, the crane tipped to the right of the operator’s cab, and the boom struck Attallah, who was declared dead onsite.

At no time was the crane taken out of operation by anyone at the project, despite the communications by the crane operator on April 9 that the crane was in a state of disrepair and posed a serious danger to the operator and everyone around.”

Graham was fined $15,000, Sokhan was fined $13,000, and Forma-Con Construction was slapped with a $285,000 fine near the end of 2017 — three of the 12 fines that were imposed last year in Brampton.

President of the Toronto and York Region Labour Council John Cartwright identified Attallah in a Facebook post to remember him and three other workers who died on the job in April 2015.

With unsafe workplaces and often carelessness causing severe worker injuries and sometimes death, it’s worrisome to know that going to work poses a huge safety risk to many people in Brampton.

It remains to be seen how the Ministry of Labour will proceed, and how preventative action will be taken at workplaces across Brampton in response to this data.

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