Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
The proprietor of a London-area roofing company has been sentenced to three days in jail and a fine of $5,000 after attempting to deceive a Ministry of Labour safety inspector following a worker’s fall from a roof.
The defendant, A. Bradley Clothier, operates a roofing business as a sole proprietor called AB Clothier Roofing based in Dorchester, Ontario.
On August 17, 2015, three workers for AB Clothier Roofing, including Clothier, were working on a residential roofing project at a two-storey home in the town of Bayfield. Fall protection, such as harnesses required by law when working at heights, was not made available for the workers on the project. One of the workers fell at distance of 18 feet from the roof, which resulted in injuries.
After the worker fell, Clothier directed the third worker at the site to go up onto the roof and put up lifelines and fall protection equipment in an attempt to deceive the Ministry of Labour investigation that would take place.
Clothier was fined $5,000 on the first count, and imprisonment for a term of three days on the second count. The jail sentence and fine were imposed by Justice of the Peace D. Patricia Hodgins in Goderich court on November 3, 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.
The law(s) in contravention,
Clothier pleaded guilty to the following:
- Failure to ensure a worker was adequately protected by a method of fall protection contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act;
- and attempting to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of his or her power, or performance of a duty, under section 54 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Did Mr. Clothier not understand that he would have been guilty even if the harness and lanyards were readily available?
The ‘Working at Heights’ legislation came into being BECAUSE of employers such as we see here. The need to protect workers MUST be the overriding factor.
I was surprised not to see other charges and larger fines here.
By the way, my company, HRS Group Inc., is an approved provider of ‘Working at Heights’ and I let the students know that I do not wait around for an employer to give me something I should already have. Just like a hammer, tool-belt, safety glasses and hearing protection, a harness, properly worn, would always do the job and should already be part of your equipment. I hear, however, that many roofers feel this creates a trip hazard. My reply has always been, “at least you will not hit the ground.”
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.