Blog Post #1239 – Worker Caught in Rubble, Company Fined $65,000 in Thunder Bay District

Blog Post #1239 – Worker Caught in Rubble, Company Fined $65,000 in Thunder Bay District

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker, employed by SL Marketing, Orillia, Ontario suffered a non-life-threatening injury when a concrete structure collapsed on top of the worker’s excavator.

(SL Marketing) was conducting a demolition operation/construction project at the former Kraft Paper Mill in November 2017.

After site orientations were performed, workers drilled holes into columns in three concrete structures on site. Explosives were inserted into those holes, and they were detonated as test blasts. The test blasts were performed under the direction of a supervisor.

The blasts did not bring the structures down, and the site was then left for several days to settle. Following that, on November 14, 2017, an excavator with an attached pulverizer was brought to the site. The operator was instructed to “soften” one of the structure’s walls using the pulverizer. The intention was that after the walls had been softened, a further blast would be set off to bring the structure down.

The worker began softening the walls, and the approximately 65-foot concrete structure collapsed on top of the excavator. The worker was trapped in the excavator’s cab for several hours, buried under rubble. He was later freed, taken to hospital and suffered a non-life-threatening injury.

The Ministry of Labour investigated the incident and determined that even though the company had trained its workers in how to perform demolition work, a second assessment had not been performed following the initial test blast to determine the building’s structural integrity as required by the procedures.

As a result, the company did not provide an appropriate safeguard in the circumstances to prevent injury to a worker (that is, a second structural assessment).

This contravened section 212(1)(b) of the Construction Projects Regulation (Regulation 213/91) and the company failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Jennifer Neill fined 1481410 Ontario Limited $65,000 in provincial offences court in Thunder Bay; Crown Counsel Tom Schneider.

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:

SL Marketing was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector regulation 213/91, section 212, subsection 1(b) which states,

If a structure is so damaged that a worker is likely to be endangered by its partial or complete collapse,

(b) safeguards appropriate in the circumstances shall be provided to prevent injury to a worker.

This is contrary to section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

JHA (job hazard assessment or analysis) should have been completed after the structure was placed at risk due to earlier demolition. “Due Diligence!”

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.

 

 

Dan
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