Blog Post #979 – Sunny Roofing Fined $40,000 for Obstruction of Labour Inspector, Safety Violations

Blog Post #979 – Sunny Roofing Fined $40,000 for Obstruction of Labour Inspector, Safety Violations

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Sunny Roofing Inc., a roofing company based in the Greater Toronto Area, was fined a total of $40,000 in court for health and safety violations that included obstruction of a Ministry of Labour inspector during an investigation and failing to ensure its workers had mandatory fall protection and safety equipment. Obstructing an inspector in the performance of the inspector’s duties is an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).

On July 13, 2015 in response to a complaint, an MOL inspector attended the site of a residential re-roofing project in Milton. There the inspector observed several workers on the roof without fall protection, hardhats or safety boots as required by Regulation 213/91 under the OHSA. Sunny Roofing Inc. was subsequently charged and convicted for these offences.

In addition, the company was convicted of obstructing, hindering and interfering with an inspector. Its workers fled the worksite during the investigation, and the company failed to respond to correspondence and the direction of the inspector.

Following a trial, Sunny Roofing Inc. was fined $40,000 by Justice of the Peace Thomas McKeough in Burlington court on March 14, 2017. The fines were:

-$15,000 for obstructing a Ministry of Labour inspector in the performance of duty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act

-$20,000 for the lack of fall protection (such as harnesses or safety nets)

-$2,500 for the lack of protective headgear (hard hats)

-$2,500 for the lack of protective footwear.

Following a trial, Sunny Roofing Inc. was fined $40,000 by Justice of the Peace Thomas McKeough in Burlington court on March 14, 2017. The fines were:

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.

The company was convicted in Brampton court on September 8, 2015 on six charges under the OHSA for similar offences of failing to ensure workers wore fall protection, protective headwear and protective footwear. At that court hearing, the proprietor, Dong Mo, was convicted on three charges of failing as an employer to ensure workers wore fall protection. Mo was fined a total of $14,000 and the company received a total fine of $33,000.  The company had been convicted in court two days previously on similar charges and received a fine of $4,000 at that time.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention,

Sunny Roofing Inc., was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘construction’ sector regulation 213/91, section 22(1) which states,

Every worker shall wear protective headwear at all times when on a project.”

Sunny Roofing Inc. was also found guilty of the same regulation, section 23(1) which states,

“Every worker shall wear protective footwear at all times when on a project.”

And finally, Sunny Roofing was charged under the same sector regulation 213/91, section 26.1(2) which states,

“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.”

Sunny Roofing Inc. was also charged under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 23, subsection 1 which states,

“A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,

(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project;

(b) every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this Act and the regulations; and

(c) the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”

Finally, Dong Mo, the proprietor of the business was found guilty of a contravention of the OHSA, section 62, subsection (1) which states,

“No person shall hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with or attempt to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this Act or the regulations or in the execution of a warrant issued under this Act or the Provincial Offences Act with respect to a matter under this Act or the regulations.”

As a certified instructor, and owner of HRS Group Inc. out of Peterborough, for the CPO for ‘Working at Heights’, I just cannot understand how this roofing company felt it necessary to ensure that the workers were not protected. The fines were maximum for individuals of $25,000 which has since increased to $100,000 and the maximum company fine, per contravention, was $500,000 and has since been raised to $1,500,000.

I believe the owner of the business got off lucky. The worker should never be at risk and the law was set up to deal with employers such as this one.

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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