Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

APCO Industries Co. Ltd., a manufacturer and distributor of oils, greases, rust preventatives and lubricants, was fined $100,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed because of the lack of guardrails.

On January 28, 2011, workers were repairing a leak in the roof of a storage warehouse at the company’s Toronto workplace. The warehouse roof had six plastic dome covered skylights. A worker walking backwards tripped on the flashing of a skylight and fell through it about 5.5 metres (18 feet) to the concrete floor below. The worker’s injuries were fatal.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there was a lack of guardrails around the skylights while the workers were on the roof, nor did the skylights themselves constitute a protective covering over the opening in the roof. At no time during the repairs were the workers wearing or using any form of fall protection.

APCO pleaded guilty for failing as an employer to ensure that a guardrail or protective covering was used to prevent workers from falling through the skylights.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John R. Cottrell. 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:

APCO was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

26.1 (1) A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements.

(2) 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, or
3. A safety net that meets the requirements.”

The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation is soon to take over. Companies, like this one, should have known better but that issue will not matter anymore.

The new legislation will be about training. Instead of the 3-4 hour course that many would give, and, that it would be a one-time event, must now be a 6.5 hour program issued every three years.

“Times, they are a changing”, just not fast enough for my liking. As I have stated before, I travel around the central and southern parts of the province and find many many examples of fall protection violations. It will be interesting to see the extent of the enforcement.

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 ‘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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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