An inquest into a scaffolding collapse that killed four men in Toronto more than a decade ago began on Monday, with the presiding coroner saying it would examine the circumstances of the deaths and what could be done to prevent similar tragedies.
Fayzullo Fazilov, Alexsandrs Bondarevs, Vladimir Korostin and Aleksey Blumberg died after the swing stage they were on suddenly collapsed on Christmas Eve 2009.
Dr. John Carlisle, the presiding coroner, said the inquest will look at what led to the deaths and a jury could make recommendations on avoiding similar situations in the future.
“It will be an occasion for the review of everything that has happened, how improvements have been made, and to reassure the public that all that has been done properly,” he said.
“Legal responsibility and blame are not part of an inquest. That was the role of the courts. Those matters have long since been decided.”
The men who died — all employed by Metron Construction — fell 13 storeys to the ground.
Another worker was seriously injured, and a sixth — who was tethered, as required under provincial law — was left hanging in mid-air but wasn’t hurt.
The project manager, Vadim Kazenelson, survived after he managed to hold on to a balcony when the scaffolding fell.
Kazenelson was later convicted of four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one of causing bodily harm after an Ontario court found he was aware that protections against falls were not in place.
He was sentenced to 3 1/2 years behind bars and his appeal was unsuccessful.
In dismissing his appeal, Ontario’s top court agreed with the trial judge that Kazenelson had failed to take reasonable steps to prevent what was one of the province’s worst workplace accidents.
The coroner’s inquest, that began via videoconference, is expected to last a week. It was initially scheduled for May 2020 but was postponed.