Blog Post #971 – Roofing Company Fined $57,500 After Worker Falls Through Roof

Blog Post #971 – Roofing Company Fined $57,500 After Worker Falls Through Roof

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A Mississauga roofing company pleaded guilty and has been fined $57,500 after a worker fell through a roof and was seriously injured.

The company, Paiva Roofing Ltd., was working on the roof of an industrial establishment at 850 McKay Road in Pickering on April 30, 2015. The day before, the work crew had removed heating, ventilation and air conditioning cones and other roofing material from the roof. On the morning of the incident, one of the workers went through an opening in the roof and fell 28 feet onto the concrete floor below, sustaining serious injuries.

The defendant failed to ensure that the worker was adequately protected by a guardrail system, in contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation).

The company pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that a worker worked in accordance with the measures and procedures prescribed by law.

The fine of $57,500 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert G. Boychyn in Whitby court on March 1, 2017.

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,

Paiva Roofing Ltd. was found guilty of contravening the Construction Projects Regulation 213/91, section 26.1(1) which states,

“A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of subsections 26.3 (2) to (8).”

Paiva Roofing Ltd. was also found guilty of contravening the 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.”

Section 26.3, subsection 2 through 8 cover all the information necessary to correctly install adequate guardrails to protect workers. I have listed the sections below;

(2) One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:

1. A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section.

2. A protective covering that,

i. completely covers the opening,

ii. is securely fastened,

iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening,

iv. is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and

v. is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.

(3) The guardrail system or protective covering required under subsection (1) or (2) may be removed temporarily to perform work in or around the opening if a worker is adequately protected and signs are posted in accordance with subsections 44 (1) and (2).

(4) The following are the specifications for a guardrail system:

1. It shall have a top rail, an intermediate rail and a toe board.

2. The intermediate rail may be replaced by material that can withstand a point load of 450 newtons applied in a lateral or vertical downward direction.

3. Subject to subsection 116 (8), the top of the guardrail system shall be located at least 0.9 metres but not more than 1.1 metres above the surface on which the system is installed. 

4. The intermediate rail shall be located midway between the top rail and the toe board.

4.1 The toe board shall extend from the surface to which the guardrail system is attached to a height of at least 89 millimetres.

5. If the guardrail system is located at the perimeter of a work surface, the distance between the edge of the surface and the guardrail system shall not be greater than 300 millimetres.

(5) A guardrail system shall be capable of resisting anywhere along the length of the system the following loads when applied separately, without exceeding the allowable unit stress for each material used:

1. A point load of 675 newtons applied in a lateral direction to the top rail.

2. A point load of 450 newtons applied in a vertical downward direction to the top rail.

3. A point load of 450 newtons applied in a lateral or vertical downward direction to the intermediate rail, or midway between the top rail and the toe board.

4. A point load of 225 newtons applied in a lateral direction to the toe board.

(6) The distance between any two adjacent posts of the guardrail system may be greater than 2.4 metres only if the system is capable of resisting the loads specified in subsection (5) increased in proportion to the greater distance between the posts.

(7) The following additional requirements apply to a guardrail system that is made of wood:

1. The wood shall be spruce, pine or fir (S-P-F) timber of construction grade quality or better and shall not have any visible defect affecting its load-carrying capacity.

2. The wood shall be free of sharp objects such as splinters and protruding nails.

3. The system shall have posts that are at least 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres, are securely fastened to the surface and are spaced at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres.

4. The top rail and the intermediate rail shall each be at least 38 millimetres by 89 millimetres.

(7.1) If a guardrail system that is made of wood is constructed and installed so that it is capable of resisting all loads that it may be subjected to by a worker, the following do not apply:

1. The requirement in paragraph 2 of subsection (4) that the replacement material can withstand a point load of 450 newtons.

2. Subsections (5) and (6).

(8) The following additional requirements apply to a guardrail system that is made of wire rope:

1. The top rail and intermediate rail shall be made of wire rope that is at least 10 millimetres in diameter, and the rope shall be kept taut by a turnbuckle or other device.

2. The outward deflection of the top rail and intermediate rail resulting from the loads specified in subsection (5) shall not extend beyond the edge of a work surface.

3. The system shall have vertical separators at intervals of not more than 2.4 metres and horizontal supports at intervals of not more than 9 metres.”

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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