Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker was observed by a Ministry of Labour inspector working on a pitched roof without wearing fall protection as required by law. Fall protection contraventions are considered to be one of the ‘killer contraventions’ within the Province of Ontario and are treated extremely seriously by the Ministry of Labour.
Steven Bell, sole proprietor of a roofing company in Belleville, Ontario, had his employees working on a residential roofing project on July 22, 2017.
A Ministry of Labour inspector observed a roofing project on a residence in Belleville. The inspector observed that a roofer, employed by Bell, was working on the roof at a height in excess of more than three metres from the ground. The worker was not wearing any means of fall protection. There were no injuries.
Bell has three previous convictions under the OHSA:
- On March 11, 2013, an MOL inspector observed three roofers in Belleville, employed by Bell, working at heights of more than three metres without being protected by fall protection. There were no injuries. The $2,000 fine in that conviction has not been paid.
- On November 16, 2013, an MOL inspector observed four roofers in Belleville, employed by Bell, working at a height of more than three metres (actual height: about 18 feet) without being protected by fall protection. There were no injuries. A $4,500 fine was levied, of which $900 remains unpaid.
- On October 7, 2015, an MOL inspector observed a roofer in the City of Quinte West and employed by Bell working at a height of more than three metres (actual height: about 26 feet) without being protected by fall protection. There were no injuries. For that offence, Bell was sentenced of one day of imprisonment and a fine of $10,000, which has not been paid.
Following a guilty plea in Belleville court, on May 7, 2019, Justice of the Peace Christopher I. Peltzer sentenced Steven Bell to 7 days’ incarceration. Crown Counsel: Neil Gorbardhan.
The law(s) in contravention:
Steven Bell was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91 section 26.1(2) which states
“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:
- A travel restraint system that meets the requirements,
- A fall restricting system that meets the requirements, or
- A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements.”
This was in direct contravention of section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
What a waste of space. Here we find an employer with a lack of compassion for his workers and continually placed his workers at risk of a fall.
4 convictions should lead to a longer sentence and a fine that would put his company out of business. The possible amount of money needed for major surgery and possible long-term care (worst case scenario) could be in the millions.
Let’s make it impossible for unsafe employers to exist. What do you think?
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.
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.