Ministry of Labour investigating incident
(Canadian OH&S News) — A 50-year-old subway-track maintenance worker with the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) has died after a workplace accident left him severely injured in the early morning hours of Oct. 1.
Tom Dedes succumbed to his injuries at Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre on Oct. 9, more than a week after the incident, according to a TTC news release. Dedes had worked for Toronto’s transit system for 18 years, the release noted.
The incident occurred at about 2 a.m. on the 1st, when Dedes and other TTC employees were moving equipment from a pickup truck onto a workcar at McCowan Yard, a rail yard in the eastern borough of Scarborough. After the workers had finished loading the workcar, a locomotive pulled the vehicle and swung the tail end of it towards Dedes, who was standing between the workcar and the truck.
The force of the workcar pinned Dedes against the truck and caused major internal injuries, the TTC said. He was immediately rushed to the hospital.
“On behalf of the entire TTC family, I send my deepest condolences to Tom’s parents and his partner, Gina, at this very difficult time,” TTC CEO Andy Byford said in a press statement. “Our thoughts are also with Tom’s co-workers as we all come to terms with this tragic and shocking event.”
Brad Ross, the TTC’s executive director of corporate communications, offered his own condolences on Twitter.
“The TTC family is in mourning today,” Ross tweeted after Dedes’ passing.
A press release from Amalgamated Transit Union Local 113, one of the unions that represent TTC workers, stated that several union personnel had paid their last respects to Dedes and visited his family at Sunnybrook. These members included Local 113 president Frank Grimaldi, secretary-treasurer Kevin Morton and health and safety representative Andrew Falotico.
“Our 11,000 members are in mourning today with the tragic death of Tom Dedes,” said Grimaldi in a media statement.
“Across the city, our members are thinking of his family and friends, including his parents and partner, Gina. Our thoughts are also with Tom’s track-crew sisters and brothers at the TTC’s Greenwood Yard and McCowan Yard, who are dealing with the loss of a great man who left us too soon,” he added.
“While our thoughts are first with his family, our union is strongly committed to the health and safety of our members. The Ontario Ministry of Labour will conduct an investigation, and our union will do whatever we can to ensure such a tragedy never happens again.”
The TTC stated in its release that it had notified the Ministry immediately after the incident and was cooperating fully with the investigation. An internal TTC probe is ongoing as well.
On Oct. 10, Toronto Mayor John Tory ordered all official flags at the City Hall and other civic centres to be lowered to half-mast out of respect for Dedes, according to Tory’s Twitter account.
The TTC has been providing grief counsellors for Dedes’ co-workers and is consulting with his family about special arrangements for his funeral.