Teen poisoned by carbon monoxide at work, parents outraged at employer’s lenient consequences

This teen was poisoned by carbon monoxide on the job. His parents say the employer got off easy

“Imagine starting a part-time job as a teenager, excited to earn your own money, only to find yourself fighting for your life months later. This was the reality for Wil Krotenko, a 14-year-old from Canora, Sask., who suffered severe carbon monoxide poisoning at his workplace last October. What happened to Wil sheds light on the issue of workplace safety for young workers in Canada, and the lack of severe consequences for employers who put their employees’ lives at risk.

The Incident: A Teen’s Fight for Survival

Wil’s terrifying experience began when he collapsed and had to be airlifted to the hospital after using a gas-powered pressure washer to clean the meat department of the Co-op grocery store where he worked. The carbon monoxide levels in the enclosed space were dangerously high, exceeding safety regulations by 60 times. Despite this grave situation, the employer faced no fines or repercussions, only being ordered to fix the issues.

The Supervisor’s Negligence: A Pattern of Disregard for Safety

Prior to Wil’s incident, another teen employee fell ill after using the same gas pressure washer, indicating a pattern of negligence by the supervisor who was aware of the risks. Both teens received no training on how to use the equipment and were left unsupervised, violating multiple health and safety regulations. The lack of accountability for the employer in such cases is a concerning issue in Canada’s workplace safety landscape.

Calls for Change: Stricter Consequences Needed

Safety experts like Sean Tucker emphasize the need for Administrative Monetary Penalties to hold employers accountable for jeopardizing their workers’ safety. These severe fines provide a middle ground between written orders and court prosecution, acting as a deterrent for negligent behavior. Unfortunately, many provinces, including Saskatchewan, do not have AMPs in place, leaving young workers vulnerable to hazardous working conditions.

The Long-Term Impact: Health Consequences of Workplace Accidents

The aftermath of Wil’s poisoning extends beyond the immediate physical harm, with potential long-term health effects like cluster headaches and neurological problems looming over his future. Dr. Louis Hugo Francescutti warns of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, emphasizing the need for careful monitoring and support for Wil’s ongoing health issues. The Krotenko family’s advocacy for more severe consequences for employers is driven by their desire to protect other young workers from similar dangers.

Conclusion: A Call for Action and Accountability

Wil’s story is a stark reminder of the risks faced by young workers in the workforce and the gaps in safety regulations that leave them unprotected. The Krotenko family’s plea for stricter consequences and accountability for companies that fail to prioritize safety is a critical call to action. It’s time for authorities to heed these warnings, implement stronger measures like AMPs, and ensure that no worker, regardless of age, has to sacrifice their health and well-being for a job.”



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