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Supervisor Gets Jail Time for Fall that Left a Worker Partially Paralyzed

March 19, 2014
An Ontario court fined J.R. Contracting Property Services $75,000 and sentenced supervisor Tina Lootawan to 45 days in jail for failing to provide adequate fall protection for at-height work.

An Ontario court has issued a $75,000 fine to a garbage-removal company and has sentenced a supervisor to 45 days in jail for failing to provide adequate fall protection.

On Oct. 15, 2008, an employee of J.R. Contracting Property Services slipped and fell off a roof while removing shingles from a Toronto home, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labor. As a result of the accident, the worker is permanently paralyzed below the waist.

The worker testified that the company did not provide any fall protection equipment or train him on the use of such equipment.

Although the injured employee said the company paid him in cash and gave him work on an on-call basis, a provincial court determined that he fit the definition of an employee under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, and that Teisha (Tina) Lootawan was a supervisor under the act. The court concluded that Lootawan failed to ensure that the injured employee wore a protective device and that she failed to provide adequate protection for workers exposed to fall hazards of over three meters.

Justice of the Peace Mary Ross Hendriks fined J.R. Contracting Property Services $75,000 and sentenced Lootawan to 45 days in jail for their role in the accident.

Hendriks also fined company representative Andrew Haniff $2,000 for obstructing the Ministry of Labor’s investigation. According to the agency, Haniff attended a meeting with a ministry inspector but refused to answer any of the inspector’s questions.

The court also imposed a 25 percent surcharge that goes toward a government fund created to help victims of crime, as required by Ontario law.

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