Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Chelmsford-based construction companies Bélanger Construction (1981) Inc. and R.M. Bélanger Limited were fined $290,000 total on August 10, 2012, for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. The companies’ director, Ronald Bélanger, was fined $10,000 in relation to the same incident.

On September 17, 2008, a worker fell from a cement pier while dismantling a guardrail system in Field, Ont. The worker suffered head and leg injuries, and was sent to hospital.

The court found that the worker was not protected by fall protection of any kind. Three other workers at the construction project were similarly unprotected. There was a lack of equipment for each worker on the job, as well as a lack of proper care and inspection of existing safety equipment. The court also found that the supervisor on site was unqualified.

Bélanger Construction (1981) Inc. was fined $75,000 for failing as a constructor to ensure that the worker was adequately protected from falling off a bridge abutment by means of fall protection.

R.M. Bélanger Limited, the worker’s employer, was fined $215,000 for:

• failing to ensure the worker was adequately protected from falling off a bridge abutment by means of fall protection
• failing to ensure the proper equipment materials and protective devices were provided at the workplace, and
• failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to the worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.

Ronald Belanger was fined $10,000 for failing as a director to ensure that both companies complied with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Moreau. In addition to the fine, 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Belanger Construction was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 1(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(a) the equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided.”

Belanger Construction was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 1(c) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Belanger Construction was also found guilty of  a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall,

(a) provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

Belanger Construction was also found guilty of violating section 23, sub-section 1(a) of the OHSA which 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.”

Ronald Belanger was found guilty of violating section 32, sub-section (a) of the OHSA which states,

“Every director and every officer of a corporation shall take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complies with,

(a) this Act and the regulations.”

Belanger Construction was found guilty of violating section 26.1, sub-section (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“If it is not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by at least one of the following methods of fall protection:

1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements,
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements,” and finally,

Belanger Construction was found guilty of violating section 26.1, sub-section (3) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“The components of any system listed in subsection (2) shall be designed by a professional engineer in accordance with good engineering practice, and shall meet the requirements of any of the following National Standards of Canada standards that are applicable:

1. CAN/CSA-Z259.1-05: Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint.
2. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.1-98 (R2008): Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines and Rails.
3. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.2-98 (R2004): Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems.
4. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.3-99 (R2004): Descent Control Devices.
5. CAN/CSA-Z259.10-06: Full Body Harnesses.
6. CAN/CSA-Z259.11-05: Energy Absorbers and Lanyards.
7. CAN/CSA-Z259.12-01 (R2006): Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS).”

WOW!!! Did Ronald Belanger even consider reading the ACT or the appropriate regulations, in this case, the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91? I think not. If he did, then he did not understand a word and the message was lost on him!

Belanger Construction could have been charged with section 25 , sub-section 2(c) which states,

“An employer shall,

(c) when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

How can this employer provide the information , instruction and supervision to a worker when he had no idea of his responsibilities?

I do hope, you, the readership, is as disgusted with this one as I was. I also hope Belanger Construction will not be allowed to go back to work until a culture change in the organization leans toward health and safety. If not, then we will see them back here very soon.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Construction Safety Awareness’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

HRS Group Inc. can help you with ‘Fall Protection’ and Working at Heights’.

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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