Blog Post #1385 – Workplace Fatality Results in $120,000 Fine for Welland-Based Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker was fatally injured while performing duties at a construction site in Welland, ON.

In 2019, Perth County Fabrications (“Perth”) was retained to fabricate and install structural steel upon which concrete would be installed at a construction site for construction of a multi-storey building. Perth employed workers at the project.

On November 5, 2019, an engineer conducted a site visit and found that the precast concrete slabs on the second floor of the building under construction did not bear sufficiently on the structural steel beams.

The engineer’s report stated that no load should be placed on top of the concrete slabs until the matter had been addressed properly. The report also recommended that the areas above and below the concrete in question should be taped off so that no person was under or on top of these slabs.

At a meeting between the construction contractors that included Perth, a determination was made that the structural beams in the area in question had been installed incorrectly and a plan was put in place to rectify the problem.

The plan required the pre-cast concrete contractor to remove the slabs on the offending steel beams, so that Perth could remove the beams and re-install them correctly. However, by November 12, 2019, the concrete contractor decided not to make arrangements to remove the slabs, as planned.

A Perth supervisor decided to take steps to expedite the work and directed a worker employed by Peth to remove most of the bolts on the structural beams and cut the rebar connections under the concrete slabs.

The supervisor did not instruct the worker to install bracing to support the concrete slabs once the bolts had been removed. When the worker cut the rebar under one of the overhead concrete slabs, the slab fell on top of the worker. This resulted in a fatal injury.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, St. Catharines, Perth County Fabrication was fined $120,000 by Judge Donald Wolfe; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.

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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Perth County Fabrication was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91, section 31, subsection 1(b) which states,

Every part of a project, including a temporary structure,

(b) shall be adequately braced to prevent any movement that may affect its stability or cause its failure or collapse.

This is contrary to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

The engineer gave his/her opinion, and it should have been followed. The engineer has a duty to report issues such as this one and the company should have followed it.

Enough said!

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Due Diligence’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

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