Blog Post #1473 – Workplace Injuries Result in $75,000 Fine for Walkerton Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by John Ernewein Limited of Walkerton, Ontario, was critically injured, and six other workers received minor injuries because of the collapse of roof trusses. The employer failed to ensure the trusses were adequately braced.

On March 30th, 2021, the day of the incident, the Company was involved in the construction of an agricultural barn. Approximately 15 workers were installing wooden trusses. During this work, 27 trusses collapsed resulting in multiple injuries.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation revealed that the trusses were not adequately braced.

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Stratford, Ontario, John Ernewein Limited (the Company) was fined $75,000 by Justice of the Peace Michele Thompson; Crown Counsel, Walter Ojok.

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:

John Ernewein Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of Section 31(1)(b) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 which states,

1) “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 in direct contravention of section 23, subsection (1)(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (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.”

There is no way that roof trusses are installed with bracing. It would look like a set of dominoes falling over if they weren’t.

It is unbelievable that a construction company in today’s world would not know this.

There are questions that should have been asked and answered.

  • Where was the hazard assessment?
  • Was there even a tailgate meeting prior to the work?
  • Where was the supervisor, and was he/she “Competent” as required under section 25, subsection 2(c) of the OHSA?
  • Did the workers know they have the right to “Refuse Unsafe Work” as stated in section 43 of the OHSA? and
  • Did the constructor even aware of the hazard during previous builds?

All good questions but, again, no answers.

By the way, the definition of “Competent”, as defined by the Ministry is as follows,

““competent person” means a person who,

(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training, and experience to organize the work and its performance,

(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and

(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.”

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