Carbon monoxide poisoning leads to $75,000 fine in Toronto

Investigation revealed training, safety measures lacking
By Melissa Campeau
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 09/06/2016

IN MAY 2014, a maintenance worker was using a power washer to clean an underground parking garage in Toronto, unaware that the air around him was slowly becoming toxic. He later was pronounced dead at the hospital from carbon monoxide exposure. 

The employer was recently fined $75,000 for failing to protect the worker’s health and safety. Regulation 833 in Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires every employer to take all measures reasonably necessary to limit workers’ exposure to hazardous agents. In the case of carbon monoxide, exposure should not exceed 125 parts per million (ppm) at any one time. On the day in question, levels in the garage rose to 425 ppm. 

An investigation into the case revealed that neither the workers nor the supervisor had received formal training on the hazards of carbon monoxide or how to protect themselves from poisoning. In fact, they hadn’t received any formal health and safety training other than Workplace Hazardous Materials Information System (WHMIS), and some had not even received that.