Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Ball Construction Inc. (“Ball”) is a construction business performing design build, construction management, general contracting and special project management services.
Ball was engaged to renovate an existing factory, that was being decommissioned at the time, into an alternate type of facility.
On July 18, 2018, prior to 9:00 a.m., two workers employed by a subcontractor to Ball commenced work near some abandoned press pits and trenches, which were behind caution tape. While doing so, the subcontracted workers decided to use an elevated work platform, and in order to use the work platform, moved wooden wall sections which were on the floor, out of their way, to create space. Unknown to the workers, the wall sections were covering an abandoned press pit approximately three meters deep. When the two workers together picked up and attempted to push the wall sections out of the way, both fell into the pit and suffered injuries.
Investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development determined that caution tape and pylons did not meet the requirements for guardrails installed around the trenches or press pit.
Section 26.1(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, as amended, the Regulation for Construction Projects, requires that a worker be protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of the Regulations. Ball Construction Inc. failed, as a constructor, to ensure the measures and procedures prescribed by section 26.1(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were carried out at the project.
On March 03, 2020, following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson, sitting in Provincial Offences Court in Kitchener fined the company $55,000. Crown Counsel: Indira Stewart and Graeme Adams.
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:
Ball Construction Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 26.1(1) which states,
“A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements.”
It is my opinion that Ball Construction attempted to cover the hazard but the Ministry of Labour used the wrong section to charge Ball Construction.
Section 26.3, subsection 2, part (2) states,
“One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:
A protective covering that,
- completely covers the opening,
- is securely fastened,
iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening,
- is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and
- is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.
If the cover was identified, and fixed into place, the workers would have had time and enough information to ensure that they would remove the components knowing there was a fall hazard there.
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.