Engineer Now Facing Both Criminal Negligence, OHSA Charges In Mall Collapse

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Police have laid criminal negligence charges against a professional engineer in relation to the Elliot Lake mall collapse in June 2012.

The charges against professional engineer Robert Wood are two counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm.

Police say that Mr. Wood was an engineer who was involved in the inspections of the building.

A well-publicized judicial inquiry into the collapse of the mall heard that the roof had leaked for many years and the steel support structure was severely rusted.

In April 2013, media reported that Mr. Wood was also charged, as a professional engineer, with offences under Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act relating to negligent advice.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act permits the Ontario Ministry of Labour to lay charges against a professional engineer or architect where, “as a result of his or her advice that is given or his or her certification required under this Act that is made negligently or incompetently, a worker is endangered.

Criminal negligence charges against professional engineers are rare, as are charges against engineers under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.  This will be an important case for engineers and safety professionals to watch.

CBC News’ report may be accessed here.