Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
A foreman and the company that employed him are facing charges under Nova Scotia’s Occupational Health & Safety laws in relation to the falling death of a young labourer at a Halifax worksite.
Halifax police had earlier charged supervisor Jeff Scott Gooch criminal negligence causing the death of 22-year-old Brandon Alcorn in the March 13, 2018 incident.
Provincial investigators are now also alleging Gooch, 37, and Insulated Panel Structures of Waterdown, Ontario, failed to put in place fall-protection measures or provide Alcorn with training.
The documents provided by the Nova Scotia Labour Department say the company is charged with failing to ensure necessary fall-protection training, failing to have a written fall protocol and failing to ensure fall-protection gear was used.
The summary provided by the Department alleges Gooch “failed to take every reasonable precaution to protect the health and safety” of an employee and didn’t provide necessary fall-protection training or ensure the safety gear was used.
Gooch is also accused of knowingly giving and Occupational Health & Safety officer false information to days after the young men fell while working on the roof of a Kent Building Supplies store that was under construction.
His violations allegedly occurred on four different days, including the day Alcorn fell and suffered a fatal head injury.
I was surprised that an Ontario construction company would have blatantly flaunt the law on fall protection anywhere in Canada since all construction companies in Ontario that have to work from heights must take the “Working at Heights” training as required under Ontario law and has been since April 2015.
“Working at Heights” training is a full-day course and many companies have been through the approval process, like HRS Group Inc., and are now approved providers. The “WAH” training stresses the right to refuse unsafe work, and encourages employers, supervisors and workers to complete a hazard assessment prior to any work is to be done. They can eliminate the hazard, they can isolate the worker from the hazard and, quite possibly, engineer a control, say guardrails.
I guess Insulated Panel Structures never received the memo or took the training. They would have found it money well spent.
In Ontario, Insulated Panel Structures would be in contravention of the OHSA section 25, Gooch would have been in contravention of section 27 of the same Act, and the worker(s) are to follow policies and procedures as described in the OHSA and sector regulation. The best way to describe the last component is to ensure the worker(s) take the training and to apply the knowledge.
I do hope the province of Nova Scotia is working to stiffen the training requirements and improve on the safety content.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including “Working at Heights”. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.
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