The Ontario Ministry of Labour is investigating an employee’s death at a window factory in Toronto.

The incident occurred on July 18 at Vinyl Window Designs in the North York area, according to a statement from Janet Deline, a spokesperson for the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

“It was reported that a worker suffered fatal injuries while conducting maintenance on a machine,” she told DWM in an e-mail. “A ministry inspector and a ministry engineer attended the scene. Since the date of the incident, ministry inspectors have made several visits to the workplace to continue the investigation, which remains ongoing.”

Constable Victor Kwong, media relations officer with the Toronto Police Service, told DWM in an e-mail that officers and paramedics responded to the emergency call at Vinyl Window Designs.

“We were called at 8:09 a.m.,” Kwong said. “The caller said that a worker was pinned under machinery. The man was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced deceased.”

Initial media reports about the incident indicated that the man who died was 40 to 50 years old. However, the name of the deceased has not been released because of Canada’s strict privacy laws.

“We are unable to provide any details about this decedent or the circumstances of his death as this information is protected from public disclosure pursuant to Ontario’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act,” said Cheryl Mahyr, the issues manager with the Office of the Chief Coroner & Ontario Forensic Pathology Service, in an e-mail to DWM.

DWM reached out to Vinyl Window Designs for a comment on the incident but did not receive one by press time.

Resolution Could Take Time

Ontario Ministry of Labour investigations can take several months to complete depending on their complexity, says Deline. Once an investigation is wrapped up, the ministry staff reviews the report. If a prosecution for violations of Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act is warranted, charges will be laid within one year of the date of the offense.

For example, in February 2017, Ontario-based FranCar 2000 Inc., which manufactures window walls and doors for high-rise condominiums, office buildings and hotels, was fined $150,000 after a worker died and another was injured when material fell on them from a work station. The accident happened on March 1, 2015.

A search of court bulletins on the Ontario Ministry of Labour’s website shows that penalties can range from $5,000 for minor violations to $200,000 or more for those that result in a worker’s death. Jail time is also possible.

According to the most recent statistics from the Association of Workers’ Compensation Boards of Canada, 852 workplace deaths were recorded in Canada in 2015, the lowest total since 1999. An April 2017 analysis of those numbers by the University of Regina shows that Ontario had 69 injury-related occupational fatalities and 212 disease-related occupational deaths in 2015, the most in Canada. However, the province, the country’s most populous, also had the second-lowest rate of workplace deaths at just 1.4 per 100,000 workers. (No. 1 Manitoba had 1.1 deaths per 100,000 workers in 2015.)

In comparison, the national worker death rate in the U.S. was 3.4 per 100,000 employees in 2015, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In Canada, the death rate was 4.1 per 100,000 workers in 2014, according to a study by Blackline Safety.

Company Background

Vinyl Window Designs was founded in Toronto in 1986. Since then, it’s grown into one of Canada’s largest residential door and window manufacturers for new construction and renovation.

According to the company’s profile on the federal government’s Industry Canada website, its products are sold throughout Canada and are exported to at least 21 states in the U.S., as well as to Bermuda, Croatia, Cuba and Portugal. Vinyl Window Designs’ profile on Trusted Pros, a Canadian home-improvement review site, says it has annual sales of $100 million.

Vinyl Window Designs has also won several awards within the industry.

In 2015, the company was named promoter of the year for the Energy Star Most Efficient program at the Energy Star Canada Awards. Vinyl Window Designs won the same award in 2014. Its past Energy Star Canada honors include sustained excellence (2014); advocate of the year – specific product (2012); and manufacturer of the year – specific product (2006).

Additionally, Vinyl Window Designs was named one of DWM’s Companies to Watch in 2007.

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