POLITICS

Catholic school board faces safety charges in student death last May

01/25/2012 02:58 EST | Updated 03/26/2012 05:12 EDT
OTTAWA - The Ontario Ministry of Labour has charged the Ottawa Catholic District School Board with safety violations over the death of a high school student last May.

Eric Leighton, 18, was killed in an auto shop class at Mother Teresa High School.

He was cutting an empty oil drum in two when residual vapours exploded.

The charges fall under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and carry penalties of fines up to $500,000.

The school board is accused of failing to provide proper information and instruction, failing to take every reasonable safety precaution and failing to warn the teacher and student about potential hazards.

The ministry is conducting safety inspections of school woodworking and metalworking classes as well as auto shops and science labs across the province.

A spokesman said the ministry is working with the education department and school boards to ensure all schools have a thorough understanding of safety rules and regulations.