12-16 For Immediate Release
March 6, 2012
Sarnia, ON – The Corporation of the Village of Point Edward was fined $75,000 today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.
On January 30, 2010, members of the village’s paid volunteer fire department were participating in ice water rescue training. After doing swimming and floating exercises, the workers were instructed to swim out to a moving sheet of ice, climb it, and ride it down the lake. Some of them could not climb the ice floe and attempted to swim back to shore. One worker, unable to climb onto shore, was pushed by the ice floe under its surface. The worker was trapped under the ice floe for about four minutes. The worker was removed but died due to being trapped in the cold water.
A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that although there was rescue equipment in one of the fire trucks parked on shore during the exercise, there was no equipment readily available to pull the worker onto shore.
The Corporation of the Village of Point Edward pleaded guilty as an employer to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that adequate rescue equipment was available for the ice water rescue training exercise.
A related charge against an individual is still before the courts and is scheduled for a trial in May.
The fine was imposed by Justice Deborah Austin. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.