Blog Post #888 – Worker’s Fall Through Ground-Floor Opening Results in Fine For Construction Company

Blog Post #888 – Worker’s Fall Through Ground-Floor Opening Results in Fine For Construction Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Multi-Area Developments Inc., a builder of residential homes, pleaded guilty and was fined $55,000 after a worker on a construction site fell through a ground-floor opening and was injured.

On August 13, 2013, Multi-Area Developments was constructing a 94-home project located on Alden Street in Hamilton known as Summit Park. A worker hired by a subcontractor had been performing framing work and, along with another worker, was in the process of installing sheeting on the ground-level floor joists. A number of sheets had already been installed, and an opening was needed to accommodate the staircase to be installed. The worker fell off the edge of the sheeting into the opening and landed in the basement – a fall of about nine feet below the sheeting. The worker suffered injuries from the fall.

Two workers were involved in the sheeting and neither were wearing fall protection while they were standing on the sheeting and therefore were exposed to falling into the basement. The workers were also not protected by guardrails while performing the task

Multi-Area Developments Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to protect a worker with a guardrail system or a method of fall protection as required by law, and was fined $55,000 by Justice of the Peace Mitchell H. Baker in Hamilton court on June 7, 2016.

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:

Multi-Area Development Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, subsection 26.1 which states,

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

(2) Despite subsection (1), 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.

(3) 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.”

Multi-Area Development Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 23, subsection 1(a) which states,

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

  • the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project.”

Working at Heights (WAH) has been an official government program since April 2015. All ‘Construction’ employers that are working at heights MUST have the training and, to be competent, the supervisors MUST be trained as well. The sad part is that most take the training and then do NOT apply this valuable knowledge. Why is this so evident? Why are the supervisor/managers not imposing this on every worksite?

Please ensure ‘Due Diligence’ as an owner/manager/supervisor by asking yourself if you are following section 25, (employers responsibilities) subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

OR

Section 27, subsection 2(c) of the OHSA which states,

A Supervisor shall,

take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

In this case, Multi-Area Development Inc. was found guilty.

It does not have to be costly to drive your organizational culture to one of safety. It costs much more not to.

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.

 

 

 

Dan
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