Windsor

Inquest into 2016 roofer deaths begins in Windsor, Ont.

The five-day inquest into the deaths of Brian Izsak and Robert Morneau, both of whom died in 2016 in falls on separate construction projects, began Monday in a Windsor courtroom.

'This is just not right' says brother of one worker

The inquest is set to last five days. (Tom Addison/CBC)

Witness testimony was read during the first day of the inquest into the deaths of two Windsor, Ont. construction workers.

The five-day inquest into the deaths of Brian Izsak and Robert Morneau, both of whom died in 2016 in falls on separate construction projects, began Monday in a Windsor courtroom.

"This is just not right," said John Izsak remembering his brother Brian in a statement read by counsel. 

Brian Iszak died July 26, 2016 after falling through a flat roof and landing on the floor below at the Dougall Avenue Goodlife Fitness July 15.

Robert Morneau died Nov. 3, 2016 after falling through a skylight at Ventra Plastics on Kew Drive where he was installing electrical equipment and cables.

"His death didn't change his status in our lives," said Jolayne Sasko about her brother Robert. "Rob had a special way about him. He was loving and kind, thoughtful and caring. He never had a bad thing to say about anyone else."

Robert Morneau's sister Jolayne Sasko says she's interested in hearing possible suggestions to avoid worker deaths as a result of falls. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

The two associated construction companies were fined after the deaths. The Ministry of Labour issued work orders at the time and an inquest was mandatory under the Coroner's Act. 

The court heard from Filomena Savoia, a retired regional director for the Ministry of Labour Health and Safety Standards, who outlined some methods that could reduce deaths related to falls from construction sites.

Among those methods are the installation of bump lines and guard rails, as well as cages that could cover skylights to prevent workers from falling through.

Savoia added that a national building code that would adopt U.S. skylight standards is under consideration. 

Robert Morneau's father Jack Morneau says he'd like to see something come out of the inquest that would prevent similar deaths in the future.

Speaking with reporters after the first day of hearings concluded, Jolayne Susko, Robert Morneau's sister, said she's hopeful that "something will be put in place" to prevent similar deaths from taking place in the future. 

"I don't have any specific [suggestions] yet, but I am interested in hearing what everybody has to put forward, in terms of what the best practices are across our country, or in the world, for preventing these types of death in the future," said Sasko.

Jack Morneau, Robert Morneau's father, told reporters that he'd like to see "anything come out of [the inquest] that would prevent it from happening to somebody else like it's happened to Rob."

The inquest will continue throughout the week, with nine more witnesses set to provide testimony.