We don’t usually do news stories on our blog here at Safety Evolution, but this story strikes home for both Wade and myself. We were in Edmonton working on a project together when both these workers were killed. It was the Annual Day of Mourning and I remember sitting with Wade and discussing how could people still be getting killed in senseless workplace accidents like these. As people, construction workers and safety professionals, we really struggled with these two deaths and the fact they were both killed on a day that was designed to bring awareness to workplace deaths.

The next time you take a shortcut or say it won’t happen to me, please remember this story and do the right thing to protect yourself, the people working with you, so your families and friends don’t have to go through something like this.

On April 28, 2015 Fred Tomyn died when the trench he was working in collapsed. On November 1, 2017 Judge Michelle Doyle during sentencing said she found Mr. Nagra’s culpability in the death of Fred Tomyn “extremely high”. The judge said that “the corporation (Sahib Contracting) and Mr. Nagra exploited the vulnerability of a vulnerable worker at their own profit and they put their own interests ahead of any regulations.”

Judge Doyle sentenced Mr. Nagra to 4 months in prison and fined the corporation $425,000.00. The judge said that even though an early plea can be a mitigating factor in sentencing she found no remorse on the part of Sahib Contracting and Mr. Nagra.

Outside of the court house Fred Tomyn’s brother Shawn had the following to say about the sentencing. “I don’t know what I’m really feeling right now, but obviously no, I’m not satisfied,” said Tomyn of the sentence. “He should spend years (in jail), my brother died.”

While a guilty plea can be a mitigating factor in sentencing, Doyle said she found no remorse on the part of Sahib Contracting or Nagra.

“This corporation and Mr. Nagra exploited the vulnerability of a vulnerable worker at their own profit,” said Doyle. “They put their own interests ahead”. 

On April 28, 2015, Brian Frederick Tomyn, 55, had been working with a backhoe operator, digging a trench at 10746 123rd Street. He was working to connect new water and sewer lines to a nearby home. The trench was not braced in any way and a wall collapsed, burying Tomyn alive, Doyle said. Firefighters worked for several hours to free the man. When his body was located, his hands still held the equipment to connect the pipes, she added.

Charges were laid on October 3, 2016 and the complainants plead guilty on May 24, 2017.

Tomyn was one of two workers killed in Edmonton on April 28, 2015. Stephen Penny was crushed when his load spilled out of his dump truck and buried him. He was taken to hospital where he died.

It is a poignant and sad reminder that both workers died on April 28, 2015 — the annual day of mourning for workers killed or injured on the job.

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