Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker, employed by Eric Lemire Enterprises Inc., an Ottawa construction company specializing in erecting structural and miscellaneous steel, was injured by a steel truss that tipped over. Eric Lemire Enterprises Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure material or equipment at a project was stored and moved in a manner that did not endanger a worker.
On September 8, 2021, Eric Lemire Enterprises Inc./Les Enterprises Eric Lemire Inc. was erecting structural steel at a large construction project in St. Thomas. A foreperson and two labourers were rigging open web steel joist trusses to a mobile crane so they could be hoisted. Each truss measured 50 feet long by 4 feet, 5 inches high and weighed approximately 5,700 lbs.
The crew was trying to separate a bundle of four trusses that were jammed together. They were able to separate the two outer trusses, which were then placed upright on either side of the bundle without being braced or secured from tipping. One of the workers went to retrieve a crowbar at the other end of the bundle and walked back along a path between one of the separated trusses and a stack of metal decking.
At that moment, the two jammed trusses suddenly came apart and knocked the unsecured truss, causing it to tip and injure the worker. At the time of the event, the trusses were not braced or secured from tipping over and there was no task-specific work procedure or training relating to the safe storage, movement or separation of jammed trusses, despite this being a common issue encountered by the company at other projects.
Eric Lemire Enterprises Inc. was fined $55,000 following a guilty plea at the St. Thomas Provincial Offences Court. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert M. Seneshen. Crown Counsel was Alessandra Hollands.
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:
Eric Lemire Inc., was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector regulation 213/91, section 37, subsection (1) which states,
- “Material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”
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 were needed to be asked and answered prior to the operation?
- Was a hazard assessment completed?
- Was the supervisor competent?
- Has this happened anywhere before and, if so, what was the corrected action plan?
All good questions and, as always, no proper answers. Too bad for the employee.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including “Material Handling” and “Construction Lifting and Rigging”. 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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.