This post is a guest blog by Simone Ostrowski, a lawyer at our firm with experience in workplace health and safety matters (@simoneostrowski, firstname.lastname@example.org).
On January 11, 2016, Vadim Kazenelson, a former project manager with Metron Construction, received a three and a half year prison sentence as a result of employee fatalities and injury that occurred under his watch. While Kazelnelson’s sentence is the first of its kind in Canada, it will likely be the first of many prison sentences for managers who do not take reasonable action to prevent injury to employees.
Kazenelson’s sentence stemmed from his failure as project manager to take any action that may have prevented the deaths of four employees and serious injury to another employee that resulted when a swing stage scaffold snapped in half on December 24, 2009. The employees had been standing on the swing stage thirteen stories above ground to repair balconies on a high rise apartment building in Toronto. Only two workers on the swing stage were actually were secured by lifelines, as required by law. While Kazelnelson had known about the lack of sufficient lifelines, he did nothing about it after being told not to worry by Fayzullo Fazilov, the site supervisor. Fasilov also died when the swing stage snapped.