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  • Inquest to be held on death of 19-year-old Windsor roofer

    Ontario’s Supervising Coroner for the West Region has announced an inquest into three roofing deaths — including Michael Maukonen, 19, who died as a result of injuries suffered in a fall in Windsor in December 2015.

    Michael Maukonen of Windsor in a family photo held by his parents. Maukonen fell while working a roofing job in December 2015, suffering injuries that resulted in his death in June 2016. Nick Brancaccio / Windsor Star

    Roofing deaths will be the focus of a new Ontario inquest — including what happened to 19-year-old Michael Maukonen, fatally injured in a fall from a roof in Windsor in December 2015.

    Dr. Rick Mann, Ontario’s Supervising Coroner for the West Region, announced the joint inquest on Wednesday.

    Along with the incident that took Maukonen’s life, the inquest will examine two other deaths: John Janssens, 73, of Wallaceburg, who died in January 2016, and William Swan, 56, of Inwood, who died in May 2017.

    In all three cases, the deaths were the result of injuries suffered from a fall while working on a roof construction project.

    The Office of the Chief Coroner of Ontario can determine that an inquest is necessary to serve the public interest.

    According to a news release from the Ministry of Community Safety and Correctional Services, the joint inquest into the three roofing deaths will examine each of their circumstances, and a jury may make recommendations aimed at preventing future deaths.

    Described by his parents as a “happy-go-lucky” Windsor teen, Michael Maukonen was working for Dayus Roofing to re-shingle a residence on Dec. 11, 2015.

    An investigation by the Ministry of Labour determined that the workers on the job wore harnesses attached via lanyard to safety lines and anchor points on the roof.

    Maukonen detached his lanyard from a safety line in order to cross the roof and dispose of waste materials in a dumpster.

    Investigators believe the young worker lost his footing and fell off the roof, incurring severe injuries from the drop.

    Maukonen never regained consciousness. He was in hospital in a comatose state for more than six months before passing away on June 28, 2016.

    Dayus Roofing pleaded guilty to failing to adequately provide workers with proper fall protection. The company was fined $90,000 in October 2017.

    Roofing was a common way to earn a living in Maukonen’s family. His older brother worked for a different roofing company, several of his uncles worked as roofers, and his father, Jeff Harris, was a roofer for 25 years.

    Harris told the Star that he was also seriously injured in a fall from a rooftop, in 2013. The incident forced him out of roofing.

    According to Ministry of Labour, falls are the number one cause of critical injuries and fatalities of workers on construction sites in Ontario.

    Those employed in roofing operations are particularly at risk, especially when working on existing homes. More than half of all work injuries resulting in lost time have occurred in the low-rise residential construction sector.

    Roofers tear shingles from the roof of a church building in Windsor in November 2016. Dan Janisse / Windsor Star

    Post time: Mar-17-2019
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