Blog Post #209 – Two Companies and Supervisor Fined $116,000 for Health and Safety Violation

Blog Post #209 – Two Companies and Supervisor Fined $116,000 for Health and Safety Violation

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Paris Holdings (2113467 Ontario Inc.) and Sergerie Mechanical (1633777 Ontario Inc.), both Cornwall-based companies, were fined $60,000 and $50,000 respectively on July 14, 2010, for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused injuries to a worker. Supervisor Tim Sergerie was fined $6,000 for a related offense.

On August 22, 2008, five workers at a demolition project at 800 Second Street West in Cornwall were removing corrugated metal decking and insulation from a storage building roof at a former paper mill. One of the workers stepped where the metal decking had already been removed and fell 8.5 metres (28 feet) to the ground below. The worker was seriously injured.

Ministry of Labour investigators found that the workers were wearing safety harnesses but the harnesses were not connected to safety lines securely attached to anchor points on the roof.

Paris Holdings and Sergerie Mechanical pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that workers were adequately protected from falling.

On August 25, 2008 Ministry of Labour investigators returned to the scene to find that four secured safety ropes had been added to the scene despite orders that the scene not be disturbed.
Supervisor Tim Sergerie pleaded guilty to interfering with and disturbing the scene of a critical injury without the permission of a Ministry of Labour inspector.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Louise E. Rozon. 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.

The law(s) broken,

Paris Holdings and Sergerie Mechanical were found guilty of violating section 26.1 (2) of the ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Despite subsection (1) if it is not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by at least one of the following methods of fall protection:

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.

Supervisor Tim Sergerie was found guilty of violating section 51(2) of the OHSA which states,

“Where a person is killed or is critically injured at a workplace, no person shall, excerpt for the purpose of,

a) Saving life or relieving human suffering
b) Maintaining an essential public utility service or a public transportation system, or
c) Preventing unnecessary damage to equipment or other property,

interferes with, disturb, destroy, alter or carry away any wreckage, article or thing at the scene of or connected with the occurrence until permission to do so has been given by the inspector.”

My opinion,

If the reader is not fully aware by now, Fall Protection is the #1 killer on a construction site. It begins with companies like these two that refuse to understand the 3 basic factors in competency under the OHSA which are;

1) Has the knowledge, training, experience to organize the work,
2) Is familiar with the ACT and the regulations that apply, and
3) Is also familiar with the hazards associated with the training

The employer MUST recognize ALL the fall hazards in the workplace and ensure that controls are in place PRIOR to any employee entering a work area. Here we find 2 companies in non-compliance as well as a supervisor trying to end run the MOL concerning disturbance of the accident scene. How stupid can one get? Tim Sergerie tried to cover up the fact that he had no idea about his responsibilities and an employee was critically hurt. SHAME!!!

It is hard enough to teach the working world all about health and safety and the hardest people to teach are the owners/supervisors.

My suggestion to both companies is to review my 7 part series on Fall Protection which were posted around the August/September 2011 time frame. Only then will they fully understand the intent of the legislation and, hopefully, will have a safer workplace for people to work in.

I am continually surprised how many Fall Protection accidents happen. They are the #1 incident in all of the 4 sectors.

The MOL sure has their work cut out for them, especially the ‘Construction’ inspectors.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRSGroup Inc.

Dan
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