Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

While giving a tour of the facility of a decommissioned cement plant located in Zorra Township, Ontario to contractors, a worker fell from a walkway that had corroded and could not support the worker’s weight. The worker later died in hospital.

On August 23, 2017, a worker was leading contractors on a tour of a closed plant that was decommissioned and ceased cement production and mining operations in 2008. The purpose of the tour was about the potential demolition of one of the decommissioned kiln buildings.

The worker took the contractors to the upper level of the kiln buildings onto an exterior walkway. A corroded section of the walkway collapsed and the worker fell nearly 30 feet to the ground below. The worker later died from the injuries.

The walkway had corroded to the point where it was structurally unsound. It had not been braced or shored up to prevent collapse, and there were no adequate barriers, locks, or other safeguards to prevent access to the kilns or walkways.

Lafarge Canada Inc. failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in section 72 of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) were carried out at the workplace.

Lafarge Canada Inc. has been convicted and fined for contraventions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2017. Three of the four convictions were related to the deaths of workers.

Following a guilty plea to one count, the company was fined $400,000 in Woodstock court by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson; Crown Counsel Jai Dhar and Evan Schiller.

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:

Lafarge Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90, section 72 which states,

“Where a structure is damaged to the extent that a collapse of the structure or any part of the structure is likely to occur and cause injury to a worker,

(a) the structure shall be braced and shored to prevent the collapse of the structure; or

(b) effective safeguards shall be provided to prevent access to the area.”

I have written up each of the last three accidents and it continues to baffle me why the management of Lafarge still doesn’t understand their responsibilities

The cost of changing the work culture to one of safety does not necessarily be costly. It would sure be cheaper than the fines and the bad publicity.

The lesson should have been learned long ago. How many more need to die before Lafarge finally gets it?

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’. 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.