Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A construction company in Prince Edward Island — recently fined $50,000 in the death of an employee last year — has gained the dubious distinction of receiving the first conviction under the province’s new, stiffer fine schedule.

The maximum fine per count under PEI ‘s OH&S Act was previously $50,000; that amount climbed to $250,000 as of May, 2006.

Claude Adolphus Scully, a senior construction worker for Prebilt Structures Ltd., sustained severe injuries on January 22, 2007 after falling two floors and landing on a stack of concrete blocks at a University of PEI construction site in Charlottetown. Scully was rushed to hospital, but later succumbed to his injuries, notes an agreed statement of facts read into provincial court on April 25.
Scully and some other workers were on the fourth floor preparing to receive a steel beam when he slipped on the steel decking and fell through an unguarded elevator opening to the second floor. The crane operator hoisting the beam witnessed the fall and summoned the site foreman, who began first aid and CPR.

Though wearing a full-body harness and lanyard, the agreed facts note, Scully was not anchored to his fall-protection system.

In addition, the system fell short of requirements spelled out in PEI ‘s fall protection regulations. In particular, the “horizontal cables installed at the perimeter of the building floor where the construction workers were working” were not in compliance.

Beyond those shortcomings was the fact that floor openings were not clearly identified and blocked by guardrails.

The WCB will be the recipient of the $50,000 paid by Prebilt Structures to fund prevention education initiatives, says Crown attorney John McMillan.

My opinion

Bill C45 came out shortly before this issue. You can see that the province of PEI was ill-equipped to deal with issues of this nature or probably had little information to draw conclusions from on the size of the fine. Section 217.1 of the Canada Criminal Code could have been used if there was any indication of criminal intent by the employer.

The scenario in the article above is still, today, all to common. Why would a worker have a harness and lanyard and not be tied off? That would be like a scuba diver not having any air in the tank prior to the dive. STUPID! (Personal note # – I witnessed two guys not tied off last week and reported it to the Ontario MOL, March 20, 2013)( the site was shut down)

Health and Safety is a frame of mind and the employer must encourage a culture change toward a better health and safety environment. It is not a costly endeavour and your employees will appreciate your concerns.

Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

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

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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