Blog Post #1480 – Ottawa Construction Incident Results in $125,000 Fine for Quebec-based Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

EBC, Inc. (the Company) failed to protect a worker from falling through a work surface opening by ensuring a protective cover was securely fastened and adequately identified.

The incident occurred on July 17, 2021, at a construction site where a concrete cistern had been built. The cistern measured 30-inches in diameter and six meters deep.

When formwork for the cistern was removed, workers were exposed to a potential fall hazard. A piece of plywood about 38 inches square was placed over the opening.

After further work was done, a worker cleaning the area picked up the plywood cover on the ground. The plywood did not have visible markings identifying it as a cover to the cistern. The worker walked forward into the opening, fell to the bottom of the cistern, and sustained a critical injury.

A coworker who saw the incident called emergency services and a confined space rope rescue was performed.

The plywood covering the opening to the cistern was not adequately secured in place, nor was it adequately identified. The Company thereby violated section 23(1) a of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Ottawa, Ontario the Company was fined $125,000 by Justice of the Peace Sylvie Lapointe; Crown Counsel, Line Forestier.

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:

EBC Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 23, subsection 1(a) which states,

“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.”

EBC Inc., should also been charged under the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91, section 26.3, subsection 2.i, 2ii, and 2iii which states,

“A protective covering that,

  1. completely covers the opening,
  2. is securely fastened,

iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening”

If EBC Inc. had taken Working at Heights from one of the training providers, (Including HRS Group Inc.) this could have been easily avoided.

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.

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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