Blog Post #1470 – Workplace Injury Results in $60,000 Fine for Sault Ste. Marie Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by R. F. Contracting Inc. of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario was seriously injured while cleaning an industrial furnace. The worker, whose fall protection harness and tether were not anchored, fell approximately 28 feet inside the furnace.

On April 21, 2020, four workers were cleaning out an industrial biomass furnace.

One of the workers, who was wearing an unanchored fall protection harness and tether, stepped inside the furnace. Since their fall protection was not anchored, the worker fell inside the furnace, sustaining serious injuries.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Sault Ste. Marie, R. F. Contracting, Inc. was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Kyle Cachagee; 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

R.F Contracting, Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 85, subsection (a) which states,

“Where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is more than three metres below the position where he or she is situated,

  • the worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline that is adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 metres.”

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.”

There are a few questions that need to be asked and answered here.

  • Was the employee ever trained in Fall Protection?
  • Was he/she given written instructions to the operation?
  • Where was his/her supervisor? and
  • Did he/she have adequate anchorage in the first place?

All good questions. Until, at such time employers can answer these particular questions, accidents such as this one will continue to occur.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. 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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