Inquest to review Toronto construction worker’s death more than nine years after the event

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kyle knox
Kyle Knox with Nicole Love, his girlfriend of more than five years before his death

More than nine years have passed since then 24-year-old Kyle Knox was killed in a Toronto construction accident, and finally an inquest has been announced into the fatal event.

Dr. Roger Skinner, regional supervising coroner for the central region, Toronto West Office, announced the inquest on Jan. 21, saying the date and location will be provided at a later date when the information becomes available. Dr. Jennifer Tang will preside as inquest coroner and Tom Schnieder will be counsel to the coroner.

Knox died on Oct. 11, 2011 at a York University construction site when a giant drill rig fell on the loader he was operating. He was trapped in the crushed smaller machine.

Two companies were convicted after they were charged with safety violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Project contractor OHL-FCC GP Canada Inc. (1842887 Ontario Ltd.) was fined $400,000 under the OHSA after pleading guilty to not ensuring, as a constructor, that required safety measures were followed.

The Ministry of Labour also charged Advanced Construction Techniques Inc. (1793380 Ontario Ltd.) with four offences, specifically with failing to protect workers by designing an adequate drill rig work platform with the required soil bearing capacity. The company also neglected to ensure every part of the project could support all likely loads. The subcontractor received a $50,000 fine.

Knox has been memorialized by his union, the International Union of Operating Engineers (IUOE) Local 793, with an award presented in his name for bravery at accident scenes.

The union says Kirk Winter, Ryan Blyth and David Tustin were responsible for helping in the rescue of Dan DeLuca, another Local 793 member who was injured at the scene.
DeLuca, who suffered severe leg injuries in the accident, attended the 2012 awards ceremony. Union business manager Mike Gallagher said the accident was a tragedy and the award is one way of honouring Knox’s memory.

The award is presented to Local 793 members who exhibit extraordinary bravery and initiative in rescuing another member, fellow worker, or a member of the public in a calamity.

Gallagher said the three Local 793 operators showed true courage in rescuing DeLuca. “They took the initiative and acted quickly to do the right thing. On behalf of the executive board and officers of Local 793, I commend the operators for helping a fellow worker in his time of need.”

At the accident scene, Gallagher said DeLuca was trapped in an excavator after the liner and auger from the drill rig landed on his machine. Tustin, a 39-year member, was first at the accident scene. He was operating a rubber tire loader at the site. He used the bucket of the loader to stabilize the liner and auger, allowing firefighters to place jacks under it. Winter and Blyth were working on another site near the accident scene. Winter drove a mobile crane to the scene. The crane still had the counterweights on and two of the tires blew on route, the union said in a statement.

At the scene, Winter used the crane to lift the auger and liner, enabling firefighters to extricate DeLuca. Blyth used an excavator to hold down the rear of Winter’s crane so he could lift the auger.

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