Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker fell from the roof of a barn under construction to the ground, suffering critical injuries. Under Ontario’s health and safety laws the worker should have been protected from falling with a properly-used fall arrest system.
Two workers employed by Thomson Construction Ltd. were constructing a hog barn. On November 4, 2015 they were strapping roof trusses on the barn.
While strapping the trusses, one of the workers stepped on a defective strap. The strap broke and the worker fell from the roof to the ground, a distance of about 6.7 metres (about 22 feet). The worker suffered critical injuries.
The worker was not protected by any method of fall protection.
There was no fall arrest system to protect the worker from falling. Although wearing a harness affixed with a lanyard, there was no anchor point or lifeline on the roof to which the lanyard could have been connected.
Section 26.1(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 requires that workers exposed to falling more than three metres be adequately protected by an appropriate method of fall protection where it is not practicable to install a guardrail system.
Thomson Construction Ltd. was fined $50,000 on October 02, 2017, in London, Ontario Justice of the Peace Robert J. Lewin; Crown Counsel Indira Stewart after pleading guilty to the offence of failing to ensure that the measures and procedures provided by Section 26.1(2) of the Construction Projects Regulation/Ontario Regulation 213/91, were carried out in the workplace.
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 law(s) in contravention
Thomson Construction Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ 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:
- A travel restraint system that meets the requirements;
- A fall restricting system that meets the requirements;
- A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements; or
- A safety net that meets the requirements.
This was in direct contravention 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.”
My first thoughts were about the new “Working at Heights” training requirements that came into law in April 2015. If Thomson Construction Ltd. sent their employees to the government-sponsored training, including supervision, then did they not realize they had to put the training into daily practice. Section 23, of the OHSA which covers the “Constructor’s responsibilities, subsection 1(a) and (c) 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; and
(c) the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”
The fines have changed from $25,000 to $100,000, per contravention, and company fines have increased from $500,000 to $1,500,000 per contravention. I hope Thomson realizes how lucky they really were. Too bad for the worker.
Funny, I keep saying that!
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. (including “Working at Heights”) Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259. We can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
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.