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Coroner's jury makes recommendations in landfill death

Friday, May 09, 2014   by: Bob Mihell

A Coroner’s jury delivered a number of recommendations on Thursday following an inquest at the Sault Ste. Marie Court House into the accidental death five years ago of James Robert Vecchio.

Vecchio, 34, a public works employee, died on April 16, 2009 from pelvic injuries suffered when a mobile crane contracted by the city fell on him while he was working at the Fifth Line municipal landfill site.

The owner, Millenium Crane, was fined $70,000 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act by the Ministry of Labour for failing to properly maintain the piece of equipment in July 2013.

The coroner’s jury made nine recommendations, five to the city, and two each to the Ministry of Labour and Transportation.

Paul Beauchamp, president of CUPE Local 3, which represents outside city workers, applauded the recommendations in a release issued Friday and pledged to work to ensure the recommendations are implemented.

He also spoke of how difficult it was for union members who were on site the day Vecchio died to testify at the inquest.

"They lost a friend, a co-worker that day. They know his family lost a dad and a husband. They understood how important it was to get to the bottom of what happened so that everyone can do what's needed to make sure this never happens again," Beauchamp said.

Recommendations to the city include: drafting and implementing a by-law that would require mobile crane operators to provide an annual mechanical fitness certificate under the Highway Traffic Act before their operation would be allowed on city roadways; only contract with companies or individuals who “fully comply” with the existing provisions of the Contractor Safety Responsibilities Guide “to ensure equipment maintenance and worker safety”; scheduled reviews and updates to that guideline; and routine meetings with contractors and third parties to ensure proper work site rules are understood and enforced.

To Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, the jury recommended that workers be removed from any excavation site while cranes are being positioned, and that the Occupational Health and Safety Act be revised to ensure workers have a minimum of two ways to either enter or exit a job site where “physically possible”.

The jury also recommended that the Ministry of Transportation revise the current definition of “commercial motor vehicle” to include mobile cranes so that annual inspections and certification are required.

On a related point, they suggested that the “annual permit” require proof of mechanical fitness from a certified truck and coach mechanic.

Previous coverage:

Inquest into the death of James Vecchio announced

Joe Fratesi statement about the death of James Vecchio

Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
OH IT'S ME AGAIN 5/9/2014 5:14:01 PM Report

I am confused how the criminal charges initially laid against the crane group were withdrawn. Clearly a situation where the crane ownership and all involved with the crane company failed to conform to the safety regulations required in Ontario. Thes pr[eople are to do what is called a circle check each day and report problems. Find it hard that they did not know the brakes were in need of attention. Ministry missed a perfect opportunity to to show that they are serious about safety in this province.
VERY SAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
dicks 5/9/2014 7:13:13 PM Report

the crane operator should have been fined for operating a crane without the proper license,the crane owner should have been fined for allowing the operator to operate the crane without the proper license, the city of sault ste. marie should have been fined along with the supervisor responsible for the construction work for allowing the project to proceed without knowing the employees where properly trained for the operation of equipment.
Powerwise 5/9/2014 8:40:44 PM Report

(Not hatred nor vanity)
Powerwise 5/9/2014 8:41:13 PM Report


Peachesmom 5/9/2014 11:02:31 PM Report

I didn't see anywhere that it was said the crane operator didn't have a license. I actually read it as the owner of the crane "failed" to ensure that it was safe for anyone to operate. The operator & the owner are two very different people.

"The owner, Millenium Crane, was fined $70,000 under the Occupational Health and Safety Act by the Ministry of Labour for failing to properly maintain the piece of equipment in July 2013."

Actually, from the entire article, I don't see it mentioned anywhere that the operator was at fault ... the company who owned the equipment, absolutely.
chas 5/9/2014 11:39:37 PM Report

Licensing should be mandatory.
I'm sorry someone died.
$70,000.00 is a lot for any company or person to pay. That could bankrupt most folks.
Unlicensed people can kill people.
Some people should never get a license.
asp 5/9/2014 11:58:01 PM Report

It is the owners fault because he would have to make sure everyone has the proper paper work to operate the machinary. So sad that this happened to the family. Eternal Monumnts should be investigated again, because I know another guy that got hurt there again.(One young guy died there remember that) Who's pockets are bing lined???
steve beau 5/10/2014 7:19:44 AM Report

The operator did have the proper licence to operate the crane.The coroner's jury made a recommendation that crane's be certified as safe by a person with a truck coach and mechanics licence,just so happens that the operator had a truck coach and mechanics licence.The crane seemed to have no problem getting up to the land fill site and resetting 3 times.The brakes were working!There was no slope where there should have been one'if the hole had been properly sloped the man would have been able to get away from the crane.One big problem crane operators have is they have to be able to trust the people giving them crane signals and you would not believe how many signal men screw that up.But guess what,if something goes wrong you can bet that its going to be the operator that's in the wrong because the guy that was giving the signals is never going to admit that he gave the wrong signal.
chevybaha 5/10/2014 9:10:46 AM Report

steve, a hole being sloped properly has nothing to do with getting out, its so the banks do not cave in on men working in the hole. a ladder is the proper way to get out of a trench, and there was one.
boilertyme 5/10/2014 9:43:43 AM Report

Does a trench fall under confined space where rescue equipment and a trained attendant should be present to monitor the air and warn workers of any potential hazards ?
jimmynewtron 5/10/2014 9:58:33 AM Report

After sitting in court for two weeks participating in this coroners inquest. The facts are that the owner never insured to maintain a safe vehicle. The last time before april 16,2009 the tires were off and brakes check was 2006. And for the driver to have driven the crane to the landfill, which he did he needed a DZ license which he DID NOT have. All he had was his truck and coach mechanics license which only allows him to road test a vehicle. The owner and the driver both knew this was illegal and were doing it for eight years prior to the accident.if the driver was to have gotten into an accident on a street him and the owner would already have been in jail. But now they run free telling lies and pointing blame else were and many lives are ruined because of their blatent negligence.
jimmynewtron 5/10/2014 10:01:04 AM Report

And the real name behind they nickname jimmynewtron is paul beauchamp.
jimmynewtron 5/10/2014 10:12:39 AM Report

Also Mr.steve beau. No matter what the slope was in this excavation not trench, slope isn't designed to accommodate an 80 crane. Also I've been around construction equipment all my life and don't not recall which signal is going to stop a moving crane with no brakes from baking up. The dam crane should not have been on the road. It was a loaded gun the killed someone. Good thing you weren't driving it on this day. Or maybe if you were you might have been a responsible enough operator to have done a proper circle check and refused to operate the crane and we wouldn't be commenting today
Note: Comments that appear on the site are not the opinion of If you see an abusive post, please click the link beside the post to report it.
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