School board fined $275,000
Eric Leighton died of his injuries May 26, 2011 after an explosion at Mother Teresa Catholic High School earlier in the day. (Yearbook photo)
OTTAWA — The Ottawa Catholic District School Board (OCDSB) has been fined $275,000 for a classroom explosion that killed a student last spring.
On May 26, 2011, students in a shop class at Mother Teresa High School were making barbecues from steel barrels, using hand grinders to cut the steel, when one of the barrels exploded.
Eric Leighton, 18, was seriously injured in the explosion and died in hospital later that day.
An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation found that the barrel Leighton was using had been washed with a flammable cleaner, then sealed and stored, allowing vapours to accumulate inside the barrel.
While Leighton was cutting the barrel, a spark ignited the vapours and caused an explosion.
The investigation found the school board didn't have proper procedures in place to ensure that hot work on the barrels could be conducted safely.
The OCDSB pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to provide information to the teacher about instruction and supervision of safe work practices and the potential dangers associated with the class project.