Blog Post #946 – Lack of Proper Fall Protection Results in Injury, $50,000 Fine to Elmira Company

Blog Post #946 – Lack of Proper Fall Protection Results in Injury, $50,000 Fine to Elmira Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

An Elmira company pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000 after one of its workers fell and suffered critical injuries on a job site.

The company, Earl Horst Systems Ltd., is in the business of manufacturing and installing grain bin systems and accessories.

On October 9, 2015 the company was engaged in an alteration project to an industrial farming operation located on Haggerty Drive in Newbury, Ontario. This involved the addition of new grain storage and handling equipment as well as the renovation of existing equipment.

A worker employed by the company was working atop an existing 30-foot-high grain bin. The worker was wearing a fall protection harness attached by lanyard to a newly-installed cushion box (a metal box used like a funnel to slow the movement of grain) at the peak of the grain bin. The cushion box weighed between 100 and 200 pounds and had not yet been welded in place.

The worker was connecting a metal pipe running from a nearby structure to the cushion box. As it was being put into position to be attached to the cushion box the pipe made contact with the cushion box and dislodged it. The box slid down the roof of the grain bin and fell over the side, dragging the worker along with it. The worker fell about 30 feet to the ground and sustained several injuries, including a fracture.

When a worker is exposed to a fall hazard as described in Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation), the regulation requires that a fall arrest system be attached to an independent fixed support capable of withstanding 6 kilonewtons of static force. The fixed support used for the worker’s fall protection did not meet that requirement. As an approved provider for working at heights training, the company is familiar with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and in its role as a training provider, responsible for ensuring that others know how to comply with these requirements.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker had a suitable anchor to tie to, and was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace G. Susan Stewart in London court on December 19, 2016.

The court also 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention,

Earl Horst Systems Ltd. was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 26.1, subsection 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.

Section 27, subsection 2 has the information dealing with 26.1, subsection 2 and it states,

a temporary fixed support shall be used that meets the following requirements:

  1. Subject to paragraph 2, a support used in a fall arrest system shall be capable of supporting a static force of at least 8 kilonewtons without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used.
  2. If a shock absorber is also used in the fall arrest system, the support shall be capable of supporting a static force of at least 6 kilonewtons without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used.
  3. Subject to paragraph 4, a support used in a fall restricting system must be capable of supporting a static force of at least 6 kilonewtons without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used.

It seems that Earl Horst Systems Ltd. did not know this or had forgotten. They were, therefore, in violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

The Working at Heights (WAH) legislation has been out since early 2015. This particular employer was supposed to be an approved provider as specified in the original report, and therefore, MUST have known better but did not put this into practice.

Too bad to for the worker.

HRS Group Inc. is also an approved provider for WAH and WAH refresher and stands ready to send a team to your facility, at a group rate, which could save your company money. Call Deborah at (705) 749-1259 and receive a quote and, possibly, set up a date. We are here to help you.

Ensure 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.

 

 

Dan
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