TTC fined more than $330,000 in track worker’s 2017 death

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TTC fined more than $330,000 in track worker’s 2017 death


The TTC has pleaded guilty to one count of violating workplace safety legislation in the 2017 death of track maintenance worker Tom Dedes.

At a hearing held Tuesday in a small courtroom on the second floor of Old City Hall, Ministry of Labour prosecutors agreed to drop two other charges it had laid against the transit agency in Dedes’ death.

As part of its guilty plea, the TTC agreed to pay a fine of $265,000, which was the amount prosecutors recommended. Including a mandatory 25 per cent victim surcharge, the total amount the transit agency will pay is $331,250.

Norman Keith, the lawyer representing the TTC, described the fine as “reasonable,” but called Dedes’ death a “sad case” and acknowledged the fine wouldn’t “in any way” make up for his family’s loss.

Each of the charges, which are non-criminal provincial offences, carried a maximum fine of $500,000 at the time they were laid.

Dedes, an 18-year TTC veteran who was 50 at the time of his death, suffered major injuries in an accident at the TTC’s McCowan Yard in Scarborough in the early hours of Oct. 1, 2017.

According to an agreed-upon statement of facts that was read into the court record, at the time of the accident Dedes and a crew of workers were preparing to head out on a job to replace a section of track on the Scarborough RT.

They were loading equipment from the rear of a pickup truck onto a work railcar, but as they were preparing to leave they discovered a power pack — a hydraulic unit used in track welding — on the flatbed of the car was dead.

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They moved the truck closer to the car to try to jump-start the power pack by attaching it with jumper cables to the truck engine. The cables were too short however, and they had to lift the pack off the flatbed using a crane.

Once it successfully boosted, they hoisted the pack back onto the flatbed, and some of the workers got into the pickup truck.

Dedes was walking around the rear of the truck to the rear driver’s side door when the rail car began to move. Because the rail car was on a curved track, its tail end swung out and struck Dedes, crushing him against the pickup truck. He died in hospital eight days later.

Last September, nearly a year after his death, the ministry charged the TTC with three offences under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including violating regulations that require employers to ensure adequate lighting, and to provide markings or barriers to protect workers from vehicles.

Those two charges were withdrawn Tuesday, and the TTC pleaded guilty to the third charge: failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect workers — specifically failing to provide a qualified employee to monitor the work car movements.

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Dedes was the third TTC worker to die on the job between 2007 and 2017. All three were killed in incidents involving rail cars while working on overnight shifts.

In one of the other cases, the 2007 death of Tony Almeida, the ministry also charged the TTC with workplace safety offences. The agency pleaded guilty and paid a $250,000 fine.

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In the 2012 death of Peter Pavlovski, the ministry found minor violations of workplace safety rules but declined to lay charges.

The TTC also pleaded guilty to workplace safety charges in 2007 in relation to a carbon monoxide leak the year before that injured eight employees. In that case the agency was fined $165,000.

Ben Spurr

Ben Spurr is a Toronto-based reporter covering transportation. Reach him by email at bspurr@thestar.ca or follow him on Twitter: @BenSpurr





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