Statement by TTC CEO Rick Leary on the resolution of a court case regarding the workplace death of Tom Dedes
September 3, 2019
Today, the TTC reached a joint resolution with the Crown prosecutor’s office in relation to the workplace death of 18-year employee Tom Dedes in the fall of 2017 at the TTC’s McCowan Yard.
The resolution resulted in a guilty plea to one charge of failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker at a workplace, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Specifically, that the TTC failed to “provide a trained and qualified SRT workcar monitor at the McCowan Yard to observe the movement of the workcar, while in direct communication with the workcar operator, to ensure the workcar did not make contact with workers, vehicles or equipment.” The TTC has agreed to pay a fine of $265,000, plus the 25 per cent victim fine surcharge of $66,250. Two other charges, also laid under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, were withdrawn by the Crown.
By resolving the charges in this manner, the parties have eliminated the need for a lengthy and costly trial. More importantly, avoiding a trial in this matter will hopefully allow the family and colleagues of Mr. Dedes to continue the healing process.
As an employer of more than 15,000 women and men, the TTC remains committed to ensuring our workplaces are safe for our workers, customers and the public living in the communities in which we operate.
After the tragedy involving Mr. Dedes, the TTC conducted a thorough root cause investigation with a view to ensuring this type of incident never occurs again. As a result, a number of initiatives were implemented at the McCowan Yard, including upgrades to lighting, visual markings and an engineered barrier around the track area and retraining of our employees to be vigilant when walking and working in areas with moving equipment. The TTC has also implemented measures and procedures for the workcar operator to communicate with a foreperson and Transit Control, to verify clearances around the workcar and confirm it is safe to move the workcar.
We will continue to be proactive in the identification and elimination of any risks or threats to the health and safety of our employees.
I will be reaching out to the President of ATU Local 113 to share my belief that all workplace parties have specific responsibilities for ensuring the health and safety of every worker. Everyone, from myself and TTC executives to our managers and supervisors to our front-line employees, has a role to play in promoting and being accountable for a culture of workplace safety.
I will continue to encourage this organization to do its very best when it comes to fostering that culture.
To Mr. Dedes’s family, friends and colleagues, on behalf of the TTC, I again extend my deepest sympathies and pledge to continue to learn from this tragedy with an eye to never seeing it repeated.
Rick Leary, CEO
Toronto Transit Commission
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