Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Alpine Roofing (578898 Ontario Limited) of Toronto was fined $50,000 for violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
Between June 24, 2008, and September 2, 2009, Ministry of Labour inspectors observed Alpine Roofing workers repairing roofs at three Toronto-area worksites without proper fall protection. In each case, workers were exposed to falls of greater than three metres.
Alpine Roofing (578898 Ontario Limited) pleaded guilty to four counts under the OHSA. Three counts were for failing as a constructor to adequately protect workers from fall hazards. The other count was for failing to comply with a stop-work order issued on June 24, 2008.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Joanna T. Opalinski. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Alpine Roofing was found guilty of a contravention of 26.1 (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213,91, which states,
“If it is not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system as section 26.1 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 of section 26.4;
2) A fall restricting system that meets the requirements of section 26.5;
3) A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements of section 26.6; and
4) A safety net that meets the requirements of section 26.8.”
Alpine Roofing was also guilty of violating section 66 of the Act which states,
“Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with,
a) A provision of this ACT or the regulations
b) An order or requirement of an inspector or a Director, or
c) An order of the Minister,
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 both.”
If a corporation is convicted of an offence the maximum fine that may be imposed upon the corporation is $500,000.
Life goes on in the working world and roofers need to get in step with the times. The employee NEEDS to be protected from falls. I have heard it many times before. “I have never fallen, and never will.” “The ropes are too restricting and I cannot get my job done quickly enough and I then lose contracts and money.” Have you heard this before?
Here we find Alpine Roofing not only refusing to protect their employees, but to blatantly disregard the stop work order issued by the inspector. One can appeal it, but the company cannot disregard it.
The above fine of $50,000 easily could have been stretched to around the $100,000 mark for all the violations including section one I feel Alpine violated which was section 25, (2h) of the OHSA which states,
“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
Does anyone out there feel Alpine Roofing put the employees’ health and welfare ahead of profits? I do not think so. The evidence was clear, not once, twice but at least three times.
SHAME on Alpine Roofing for placing their employees at risk!
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.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.