Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
On March 27, 2018, Vixman Construction Ltd., an Ontario corporation, was contracted to install corrugated steel sheeting to form a roof over several new walkways at Billy Bishop Airport from the gates onto the tarmac. On March 27, two workers were working on a walkway. They were using self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) for fall protection, attached to full body harnesses. All of the fall protection equipment was appropriate for the tasks involved and functioning properly.
The two workers were working close to each other and advancing along the walkway attaching the steel roof sheeting. They were moving the anchorage of their SRLs as they advanced. The first worker, with his supervisor standing beside him, anchored his SRL by choking a cable around an upright column supporting the roof structure. The worker was approximately 3.5 metres above the ground. The SRL block was lying on the already installed roof sheeting. He extended his lifeline approximately 6 metres from the anchored SRL block, across an open area.
The worker was working with his back to the SRL block. His movements pulled the SRL block over the edge of the installed sheeting. As it was attached to a vertical column, and not to a horizontal member, the block dropped until its mechanism engaged. This exerted a pulling force on the worker’s body and he fell from the work surface. As he was working at a distance farther away from the SRL block than the distance of the height of the work surface, he hit the ground, and suffered fatal injuries.
The Court found that the SRL had not been attached to a fixed support, and that the length of the extended lifeline, over an open area, was not a safe configuration of the fall protection equipment.
Following trial, Vixman Construction Ltd was sentenced to a fine of $125,000 and was given 18 months probation in provincial offences court in Toronto by Justice of the Peace G. Fantino; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.
The court also 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:
Vixman Construction Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, sections 26.6 (2) and 26.6(3) which states,
“The fall arrest system shall be attached by a lifeline or by the lanyard to an independent fixed support that meets the requirements.”
“The fall arrest system shall be arranged so that a worker cannot hit the ground or an object or level below the work.”
This is contrary to 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.”
Vixman Construction could have also been charged under section 23, subsection 1 of the OHSA which states,
(1) “A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,
(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project;
(b) every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this Act and the regulations; and
(c) the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”
Actually, in any event, the worker was wearing something longer than the fall hazard. Tragic!
Under ‘Working at Heights’ training, of which HRS Group Inc. is a certified trainer, there is a lot of material on available fall clearance. Every worker would know that constant adjustment is required to ensure maximum clearance. I wonder if the supervisor was aware of this. I do not think so!
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.