Garbage removal supervisor sent to jail for 45 days for not properly supervising safety of workers.

By Staff

March 7, 2014


A company engaged in garbage removal and hauling, and a supervisor have been found guilty of failing to ensure the safety of a worker who fell off a roof. The company was fined $75,000 and the supervisor has been sentenced to 45 days in jail. A company representative has also been fined $2,000 for obstructing a Ministry of Labour investigation.

The incidence took place in October of  2008, when workers were sent to an address to remove shingles from a one-storey bungalow. One of the workers was tossing loose shingles from the roof toward a bin and stepped back, then slipped. The worker rolled off the roof of the house and landed on a walkway. The injury resulted in permanent paralysis of the lower body. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed the incident.

No safety harness for these workers. You can get sent to jail for that in Ontario.

The injured worker testified to not being trained in the use of fall protection equipment, nor was any such equipment provided in the company-supplied truck used for transportation to and from the job site. As well, the worker indicated that the practice for payment for work was cash and that work was provided on an on-call basis. The worker identified J.R. Contracting Property Services as the employer and Teisha (Tina) Lootawan as the supervisor.

The court determined that the worker was an employee under the definition of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), and that J.R. Contracting Property Services was the employer. The court also determined that Lootawan was a supervisor under the OHSA. As such, she failed as a supervisor to ensure that a worker wore protective devices as required by law, and failed as a supervisor to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that an adequate form of fall protection was provided where a worker is exposed to a fall hazard of more than three metres.

As the Ministry of Labour investigation proceeded, the company was requested to provide documentation that included employment and telephone records. A company representative, Andrew Joshua Haniff – who accepted the call from the Meadowvale Road homeowner requesting the company’s services – attended a meeting on December 23, 2008, but refused to answer any of the inspector’s questions. He was convicted by the court of obstructing an inspector.

The jail sentence and fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary A. Ross Hendriks. The court heard seven days of testimony over 2011 and 2012; judgment was passed April 18, 2013.

The investigation, the court case and the decision point to the responsibility corporations and their senior staff have for the safety of their workers.

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3 comments to Garbage removal supervisor sent to jail for 45 days for not properly supervising safety of workers.

  • A Harrington

    The problem is that reputable companies who respect health and safety practice need to compete against those that may not.

    In this case a mere $75,000 fine issued to the company while a person is permanently paralysed needing healthcare (paid by taxpayers) for the rest of their life.

    So when you hire the lowest price roofer or other trades person, ensure they are not cutting costs on safety.

  • Joan Turbitt

    Most of the men in the previous generation of my family, worked in the ‘trades’. Safety and respect for each other were time honoured traditions and I am happy to learn also the law in Ontario.
    Kudo’s to Justice of the Peace Mary A Hendricks for the imposition of a jail sentence and fines to the company and supervisor responsible.
    All companies whether employees are full or part time will now know that the law applies to everyone and provide full time work, benefits, pensions and legally required safety equipment.
    I am happy to say that all of the men of the previous generation of my family lived until they were 90ish because safety was paramount.

    • Frankie V. Kerr

      No, the reason they lived so long in the good old days, is because they had to walk uphill both ways to and from work. There was a lot less concern for safety of workers in the 1920’s than today.