Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
The proprietor of a Dorchester-based roofing company was sentenced on November 03, 2016, to serve 3 days in prison and pay $5,000 fine over an incident in which an employee was injured in a fall last year.
According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL), AB Clothier and two firm employees were working on a roofing project at a two-storey house in Bayfield Ontario on August 15, 2015 where one of the workers fell more than 5 metres from the roof. As the workers were not using fall protection equipment at the time, Clothier told the uninjured employee to put lifelines and fall arrest gear on the roof to make it appear as if they had been using them when the investigator arrived.
Clothier pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was using appropriate fall protection equipment and attempting to obstruct an investigator’s work through deception.
August 15, 2015 is clearly after the official launch of the “Working at Heights” program which began on April of 2015. All workers that have to work at heights MUST take the training and also apply the knowledge.
$5,000 seems to be a pittance for such a devastating injury so again, where is the deterrence? Why were the employees ever placed at risk?
It has been my experience that roofers and iron workers are cut from the same cloth. All work and no safety! In fact, a roofer once told me that it is safety professional like me that cause the accidents. I asked how that can be? He made a point to tell us that the ropes and anchors provide slip and trip hazards and not much of a fall protection control.
The personal fines can now be as much as $100,000 per contravention. I can think of many sections of the OHSA and construction regulations that were in contravention including section 62, subsections (1)(2) or (3).
Clothier got off lucky, in my opinion.
Please ensure that your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.