Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker fell from a second-floor balcony to the ground while installing aluminum siding on February 21, 2018.

MCO was the constructor of a project of about 200 townhouse units.

A worker was installing aluminum siding on a second-floor balcony on one of the units under construction. The balcony was 11 feet above ground level. There was a single two-inch by four-inch piece of wood (2×4) installed horizontally at the open edge of the balcony at a height of approximately four feet from the balcony floor.

The worker was standing on a ladder on the balcony to install the aluminum siding on the roof of the balcony. While descending the ladder, the worker grabbed on to the wooden 2×4. It gave way and the worker lost balance, falling over the side of the balcony and landing on the ground 11 feet below. The worker suffered an injury as a result.

Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that the 2×4 was not nailed or otherwise securely fastened in place. Guardrails on the balcony were installed with a “compression fit” approach using a 2×4 wedged between two brick posts; this was done to avoid damaging the brick columns. There was no engineering for the design of the rails to assess what load they could support. There was no other guardrail in place to protect workers from falling.

Section 26.1(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) requires that workers exposed to a fall of more than 3 metres (approximately 10 feet) shall be adequately protected by guardrail system. On February 21, 2018, MC Oakvillage GP Inc. failed as a constructor to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were carried out at the project, contrary to section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Steven M. D’Souza in Burlington provincial court; Crown Counsel Jai Dhar.

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:

MC Oakvillage GP Inc. (MCO) was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91, section 26.1, subsection 1 which states,

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

Since this was a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) section 23, subsection 1(a) was also in contravention. The section 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.”

Covid-19 has made things difficult for safety people and the Ministry of Labour (MOL) to deal with things. (actually, the Ministry has changed its name. It is now known as the (Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development.)

We still have a job to do. HRS Group Inc., part of the training companies for all sectors, has been busy and will continue to be into 2021.

Please call Deborah to set up training that meets or exceeds the MOL requirements and the government standards for social distancing. We now have two offices and can accommodate small classes, (up to 4 persons) and larger classes, (up to 8 persons).

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Fall Protection’ and Working at Heights’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

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.

 

 

 

 

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