Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

English Prestige Builders Ltd., a company that provides real estate project management services, has pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the health and safety of workers were protected and has been fined a total of $100,000. One worker died and another was severely injured when a concrete wall collapsed on a project site.

On October 28, 2011, four workers employed by Immaculate Scrap Metal Disposal of Brampton were working on a demolition project at Cosmos Furniture Ltd. at 1055 Clark Boulevard in Brampton. Immaculate Scrap Metal Disposal had been hired by the constructor, English Prestige Builders, to undertake the demolition of an interior concrete block wall. The wall, which was about 26 feet high, collapsed on two workers; two other workers were present but not injured. The demolition and wall collapse were recorded on surveillance video.

One of the workers was fatally injured and died as a result of multiple traumas. The other worker suffered severe injuries to the back, chest and pelvis.

A Ministry of Labour investigation concluded that the wall collapsed because an inadequate demolition procedure was used. English Prestige Builders pleaded guilty to two counts of failing as a constructor to ensure that the health and safety of workers on the site was protected, and was fined $75,000 for the death of the worker and $25,000 for the injury to the other worker. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Eileen Walker.

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:

English Prestige Builders was found guilty of a contravention of section 23, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,

(c) The health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”

English Prestige Builders could have also been charged under section 23, subsection 1 (a) and (b) as well;
“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
(b) Every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this Act and the regulations.”

There was no need for any workers to be injured or killed if a set of safe work instructions were written and introduced to the workers, via the supervisor, prior to the work being done. It is the law! ‘Due Diligence’ demands that all constructors/employers do everything reasonable to protect their workforce. The Ministry of Labour has made it very clear that they will deal with a zero tolerance approach and encourage their inspectors to do the same.

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.