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TTC fined over midtown fumes incident

(Posted Date: Monday, January 21, 2008)

By Karolyn Coorsh

The TTC has been fined $165,000 for failing to protect underground workers who were overcome by carbon monoxide fumes in a midtown subway tunnel last year.

The Ontario Court of Justice issued the fine after the TTC pleaded guilty to the charges, according to a Ministry of Labour statement released Dec. 10.

The court also imposed a 25 percent victim fine surcharge on the total. The surcharge is credited to a provincial government fund that assists victims of crime.

The fine stems from a Feb. 7, 2006 incident where eight workers removing man-made mineral fibre in a northbound tunnel between Eglinton and Lawrence stations were exposed to high levels of the odourless gas.

The work was part of a $15.7 million construction project to repair the concrete liner of the tunnels on the Yonge and Spadina lines.

Just after 4 a.m., TTC transit control received a call from the crew foreman saying the workers were overcome by noxious fumes.

A reported car malfunction delayed the workers’ return to the Eglinton station platform for some 80 minutes. They were met at the platform by fire and emergency crews.

Toronto Fire Services later reported carbon monoxide readings indicated the workers had been exposed to concentrations at least 40 times the average limit in an occupational setting.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found the TTC had breached sections of an Ontario Regulation and Occupational Health and Safety Act regulation when it failed to ensure exhaust gases and fumes from the engines would not accumulate in the working space.

Meanwhile, charges against a general superintendent will be heard in court in February and March.