Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
W.R. Davis Engineering Limited, an Ottawa mechanical and engineering consultant, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.
On May 28, 2010, workers at the company’s Old Innes Rd. location were testing a helicopter exhaust system on an outdoor platform. The equipment was too large for the platform so a portion of the platform’s guardrail was removed to accommodate the equipment. While working on the equipment, a worker stepped off the edge of the platform and fell to the ground below, injuring an arm.
W.R. Davis Engineering Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that there was a guardrail around the open side of the platform.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Beverly Souliere. In addition to the fine, the court 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:
W.R. Davis Engineering Limited was found guilty of violating section 13 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,
“There shall be a guardrail,
a) Around the perimeter of an uncovered opening in a floor, roof or other surface to which a worker has access,
b) At an open side of,
i. A raised floor, mezzanine, balcony, gallery, landing, platform, walkway, stile ramp or other surface.”
I just cannot believe in this day and age, an engineering firm suspended safety protocols to accommodate the situation. By-passing a section of a governmental safety regulation is inexcusable! I realize it was to be a short-term fix but the temporary situation more than required a temporary Fall Prevention method, whether it was to be a guard rail system or to apply a travel restraint device.
At no time a worker can be left to his/her demise in case of safety. The employer is fully responsible and an engineering firm has to be better than this. Safety has to be included into the design phase of any operation and MUST be the over-riding principle. It is NOT a temporary part of the business! If W.R. Davis Engineering requires help in this regard they should look up, on this blog, my 8 part series on all aspects of ‘Fall Protection’ in the workplace. The main aspect of the series was to explain that all fall hazards have been recognized, controlled or eliminated. Here we find a fall hazard was created and went unrecognized. A terrible combination!!!
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
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.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.