Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Resform Construction Ltd., a Cookstown construction company specializing in formwork, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. Justin Lowes, a supervisor with the company, was fined $3,000 in relation to the same incident.
On October 14, 2009, Resform Construction Ltd. was at a condominium construction project on Lakeshore Blvd. W. in Etobicoke. A carpenter was cleaning a work surface that had a hole in its floor. The carpenter lifted up a panel lying on the floor and walked forward. The worker did not know that the panel was covering a hole in the floor. The worker fell through the newly-opened hole to concrete below.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the panel was not secured against movement and it was not identified as covering an opening in the work surface.
Resform Construction Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to prevent a worker from falling through an opening in a work surface by either installing a guardrail or protective covering as prescribed. Justin Lowes pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure the same.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary Ross-Hendricks. In addition to the fines, 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,
Resform Construction Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 26.3 (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction regulation 213/91 which states,
“One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:
1. A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section.
2. A protective covering that,
i. completely covers the opening,
ii. is securely fastened,
iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening,
iv. is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and
v. is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.”
My regular readership needs to review the 8 part mini-series I posted last year all about the ‘Fall Protection’ requirements that are described in section 26 of the ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91. Any employer would benefit from the knowledge and Resform Construction would have saved the money and the MOL would not be keeping Resform Construction on the radar.
No one needs the MOL on their backs. It is for this reason that the green book is so handy and needs to be part of the internal systems of any company. Health and safety has to be given a top priority when designing a business. The short term health and safety corrective actions would be a benefit to any workforce in the long term.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer