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Charges laid in Teeple Terrace collapse, industry rethinks safety practices

London, Ont. -

The London and District Construction Association (LDCA) says it’s not surprised by the charges laid in last year’s deadly building collapse on Teeple Terrace in London, and says it supports the Ministry of Labour for its professionalism in the investigation.

Eight charges were laid in connection with the incident on Dec. 11, 2020 when part of a four-storey condo building under construction collapsed with about 40 workers on site.

Two concrete workers died, 21-year-old John Martens and 26-year-old Henry Harder. Five more workers were injured.

LDCA Executive Director Mike Carter said it was a day that changed everything in the industry throughout the province.

“Teeple Terrace caused all of them to rethink, review, ensure that the practices they engaged in were at the highest standards of the industry.”

Two companies and one individual face charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The charges are as follows:

Against East Elgin Concrete Forming

  • Count 1: provide information, instruction, and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of a worker, at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(2)(a) of the Act.

Against iSpan Systems LP

  • Count 2: ensure that a building, structure or any part thereof, or any other part of a workplace, whether temporary or permanent, is capable of supporting any loads that may be applied to it in accordance with good engineering practice, at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(e)(iii) of the Act.
  • Count 3: ensure that the provisions of s. 87(1)(a) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were complied with at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(c) of the Act.
  • Count 4: to ensure that the provisions of s. 87(3)(b) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were complied with at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(c) of the Act.
  • Count 5: ensure that the provisions of s. 89(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were complied with at a workplace located at in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(c) of the Act.
  • Count 6: ensure that the provisions of s. 134(1)(a) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were complied with at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(c) of the Act.
  • Count 7: ensure that the provisions of s. 134(1)(b) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were complied with at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 25(1)(c) of the Act.

Against an unnamed individual

  • Count 8: providing advice negligently or incompetently that did endanger a worker at a workplace located in London, Ontario, contrary to s. 31(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act R.S.O. 1990, c.O.1, as amended.

Carter said many positive changes have come out of the incident, including a re-evaluation of safety standards across the board.

Mike Carter of the London and District Construction Association speaks to CTV News outside LDCA headquarters on Aberdeen Drive in London, Ont. on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2021. (Bryan Bicknell / CTV News)

“The engineering needs to be evaluated again so that the designs of buildings have to be inherently safe through construction and use. We have to look at the practices of the work that was done. There may be other items that have to be looked at, more safety training that has to occur, but in due course of time improvements will be made throughout the system.”

CTV News London reached out to the companies charged in connection with the incident and received an email response from iSpan Systems Vice President and General Manager Dwayne Van Harberden.

"This was a tragic accident that claimed two young lives and it was important that we fully cooperate with the Ministry in their investigation. We are aware of the charges."

Labour ministry statement

In a release Minister of Labour, Training and Skills Development Monte McNaughton provided the following statement regarding the charges:

“The Ministry has been working tirelessly to determine the cause of this tragedy and has now concluded its investigation.

"Any company in Ontario that thinks worker safety is just the cost of doing business should think twice because they will quickly feel the full force of the law.

"We owe it to the families, friends, and loved ones of the victims to ensure something like this never happens again.”

The first court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 11, 2022.

A number of other lawsuits have also been filed in connection with the collapse.

Meanwhile London police say their investigation is ongoing, but will be informed by the ministry's findings.

- With files from CTV News London's Justin Zadorsky

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