Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
2021960 Ontario Inc., carrying on business as New Forest Paper Mills LP, was fined $125,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed. A supervisor, Morteza Alemi, was fined $5,000 in relation to the same incident.
On July 12, 2010, a maintenance worker at the company’s Toronto facility was working on a sprinkler system from a ladder that was on a platform about five meters high. Mr. Alemi was holding the ladder. When a blast of water came through the sprinkler, the worker lost balance and fell to the concrete floor, suffering fatal injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was not wearing a safety belt and harness.
2021960 Ontario Inc., carrying on business as New Forest Paper Mills LP, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the worker was wearing a fall arrest system. Mr. Alemi pleaded guilty to the same.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Karin Dresher. In addition to the fines, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The law(s) violated,
“When a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall more than three metres below the position where he or she is situated,
a) The worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 metres, and
b) The fall arresting system described shall have,
i. Have sufficient capacity to absorb twice the energy and twice the load that under the circumstances of its use may be transmitted to it, and
ii. Be equipped with a shock absorber or other devices to limit the maximum arresting force to 8.0 kilonewtons (1800 foot-pounds) to the wearer.”
The workplace can be a complicated place for anyone to work in. The hazards differ from place to place, shift to shift and area to area SO the employer must review and acknowledge the associated hazards and place controls to eliminate the danger to employees. In this case, the supervisor was oblivious to the hazard and watched the employee die. It did not need to happen!
Fall Protection in the workplace is not that complicated. In Ontario, the chance of falling 10 feet is the trigger. The employer MUST recognize the chance form the fall and place either a ‘Fall Prevention’ measure such as floor covers or guardrails or a ‘Fall Arrest’ device such as a travel restraint system or a full body harness and a shock absorbing lanyard. Anyone of these, required by the employer and enforced by the supervisor, and the employee would probably be alive today.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer