Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Basecrete Inc., a Woodbridge concrete and drain construction company, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. Westin Homes Ltd., a Bradford residential constructor, was fined $35,000 in relation to the same incident.

On November 5, 2008, workers from Basecrete Inc. were installing sewers at a construction project in Brantford owned by Westin Homes Ltd. Two workers were in a trench installing a sewer main when part of the excavation collapsed. One of the workers suffered broken bones.

A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that the trench had not been reinforced by an appropriate support system at the time of the collapse.

Basecrete Inc. was found guilty, as an employer, of allowing workers to enter an excavation that was not compliant with Ontario’s construction regulations. Westin Homes Ltd. was found guilty, as a constructor, of the same offense.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Dennis Wilson. 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:

Basecrete Inc. and Westin Homes Ltd. Were both found guilty of a contravention of section 224 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“No person shall enter or be permitted to enter an excavation that does not comply with the construction regulation.”

Basecrete Inc. and Westin Homes Ltd. were also found guilty of a contravention of section 23, sub-section 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety (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,” and finally

Basecrete and Westin Homes Ltd. Were found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1(c) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Section 225 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 states that

“Work shall not be performed in a trench unless another worker is working above ground in close proximity to the trench or to the means of access to it.”

I also noted that section 226 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 list the 4 soil types. The employer needs to complete a review of section 226 prior to the beginning of any excavation project and then place either a shoring or support system, (which could include a trench box) or a sloping system in place to protect the workers.

I do hope the worker is OK and has not suffered any long term injuries.

The government of Ontario requires that employers review the appropriate sections of the ACT and regulations. I wager Basecrete and Westin Homes are well versed in them now.

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.

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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