Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A construction firm pleaded guilty and has been fined $90,000 following the death of a young worker on a high-rise student housing project in Waterloo.
On October 11, 2013 the worker was on the job site along with others at 185 King Street North in Waterloo. Central Construction had been subcontracted by Maison Canada, the primary constructor, to perform masonry work at the project.
The young worker was working on the 12th storey of the building, assisting in the delivery of concrete blocks to the roof. A tower crane had lifted a skid of concrete blocks to the roof and placed the skid onto wood planking. The way it was placed caused the skid to rest on an angle, creating a potential hazard (the blocks weighed about 3,500 pounds). The workers on the roof decided that the skid of blocks should be re-landed flat onto the roof; the load was re-strapped and lifted up and out. The skid then suddenly propelled toward an exterior parapet wall that surrounded the roof top.
The young worker was situated between the parapet wall and the skid of blocks; the worker hung on to the skid of blocks, which proceeded to trolley out, and crashed through the exterior parapet wall, knocking the worker from the roof top.
The young worker fell four storeys to a mast climber (a type of powered scaffold that lifts and lowers); the fall was about 13.2 metres (43.3 feet).
The young worker was trained in fall protection but was not using any form of fall protection at the time of the incident. The parapet wall was 23-1/2 inches high (.59 metres) and did not constitute a guardrail. The worker sustained head and leg injuries and later died as a result of the fall.
Central Construction pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that a fall restricting system is used where a guardrail system is not reasonably possible, and was fined $90,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson.
In addition to the fine, 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.
A ‘young worker’ is defined as a worker younger than 25 years old. New and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.
The law(s) violated,
Central Construction was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 26.1(2) which states,
“A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of subsections 26.3 (2) to (8).
(2) Despite subsection (1), if it is not practicable to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by the highest ranked method that is practicable from the following ranking of fall protection methods:
1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements of section 26.4.
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements of section 26.5.
3. A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements of section 26.6.
4. A safety net that meets the requirements of section 26.8.”
Central Construction was also found guilty of a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) section 25(1)(c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
It is very difficult to read, again and again, of workers being put at risk by not being protected during a Working at Heights application. Even the site where I live, the Mason Home development, Peterborough, has many examples of safety issues that have not been addressed.
Since we lost our last site supervisor, and have one from another Mason Homes site (He is really trying to do his job) the safety problems have not gone away.
How would it look if HRS Group Inc., an approved provider for ‘Working at Heights’, chose to ignore safety in our own back yard?
Not going to happen! I guess they better get used to it!
HRS Group Inc. is also ready to complete supervisory training for Mason Homes site supervisors. ‘Due Diligence’ training would go along way in reducing on-site accidents.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.