Blog Post #652 – Starland Contracting Ltd. and Director Fined $38,000 Total for Failure to Comply with Law

Blog Post #652 – Starland Contracting Ltd. and Director Fined $38,000 Total for Failure to Comply with Law

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Starland Contracting Ltd., a Mississauga construction company, was fined a total of $29,500 for multiple violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company’s director was fined a total of $8,500 for further violations of the Act.

On November 25, 2010, a Ministry of Labour inspector visited a construction project where Starland Contracting Ltd. had been hired to build a self-service car wash. The inspector noticed a worker on the roof of the car wash without fall protection or a hard hat.

On January 12, 2011, the inspector paid a follow-up visit to the site. Murad Ebeid, the company’s director, was on site at the time acting as a supervisor. The inspector went to speak with Ebeid, who uttered profanities at the inspector, told the inspector to leave the project and made threatening gestures and comments towards the inspector. Ebeid also refused to show identification to the inspector when requested.

When another inspector visited on January 13, 2011, the company was unable to show the inspector a Notice of Project or a Form 1000, a document that lists all employers and subcontractors on the site. The inspector issued orders for the documentation but it was not provided by the compliance date.

After an ex-parte trial, Starland Contracting Ltd. was fined:

• $14,000 for failing to ensure that a worker was adequately protected by fall protection
• $1,500 for failing to ensure that a worker was wearing protective headwear
• $14,000 for failing to comply with an order issued by an inspector.

Murad Ebeid was fined:

• $5,000 for hindering, obstructing, molesting and interfering with an inspector
• $3,500 for refusing to provide information requested by an inspector.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mindy Avrich-Skapinker. In addition to the fines, 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:

Starland Contracting Ltd., or the Director, Murad Ebeid, was found guilty of a contravention of the following sections of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) and/or the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91,

1. Section 23, subsection 1 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.”

2. Section 62, subsection 1 of the OHSA which states;

Obstruction of inspector

“No person shall hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with or attempt to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this Act or the regulations or in the execution of a warrant issued under this Act or the Provincial Offences Act with respect to a matter under this Act or the regulations.”

Section 62, subsection 3 (a) of the OHSA which states;

3. “No person shall knowingly furnish an inspector with false information or neglect or refuse to furnish information required by an inspector,

(a) In the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations.”

Section 66, subsection 1 (b) of the OHSA which states;

4. “Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with,

(b) An order or requirement of an inspector or a Director is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months, or to both.”

Section 22, subsection 1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states;

5. “Every worker shall wear protective headwear at all times when on a project.”

Section 26.1 (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

6. “If it is not practicable to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by the highest ranked method that is practicable from the following ranking of fall protection methods:

1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements;

2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements;

3. A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements; or

4. A safety net that meets the requirements.”

There is really not much left to say. I was able to add and expand for the reader’s benefit all the sections of the OHSA and ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which applied to this case. It is a good read and everyone must be aware of the need to allow the MOL inspector full access to employers, supervisors and workers. All questions MUST be answered and any possible hindering of the inspector in doing his/her job is a non-compliance issue.

I wonder, since the contractor was not in attendance at the trial,if the government of Ontario was able to collect. I would not bet against it!

I do hope Starland Contracting Ltd. has changed their ways. Probably not!

By the way, section 66 of the Act, covers a section dealing with ‘Due Diligence’.

“On a prosecution for a failure to comply with,

(a) Section 23, subsection 1

(b) Section 25, subsections (b)(c)(d); or

(c) Section 27, subsection 1

It shall be a defense for the accused to prove that every precaution reasonable in the circumstances was taken.”

Ensure your place is a safe place! Your workers deserve it and the Ontario government demands it!

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’, ‘Due Diligence’ 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
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
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3 Comments

  1. James Dickson

    Nicely done!

  2. Warren

    More of the same!

  3. Quincy

    World class!