Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
An Uxbridge construction company supervisor was fined $30,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.
On December 15, 2009, bridge construction was underway on the Queen Elizabeth Way over Bronte Creek in Oakville. The construction company 474294 Ontario Limited, carrying on business as Northern Machinery Services, was removing the concrete deck of the existing bridge. The president of the company, Barry Wood, was supervising. While workers were removing concrete panels from the bridge a section of the deck began to collapse. A worker fell and a collapsing concrete panel fell on top of the worker. The worker was killed.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Mr. Wood had been provided with a copy of an engineered procedure for safely cutting and removing concrete from the bridge deck in order to maintain its structural integrity and prevent collapse. However, this procedure had been violated. Furthermore, the workers exposed to a fall hazard while dismantling the bridge had not been wearing fall protection.
Barry Wood pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that workers engaged in the cutting and removal of the bridge deck followed the engineered procedure for that task. He was fined $20,000 for this violation.
Mr. Wood also pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure that workers exposed to a fall hazard were wearing fall protection. He was fined $10,000 for this violation.
The fines were imposed by Justice Stephen Brown. In addition to the fines, 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:
Barry Wood was found guilty of a contravention of section 27, sub-section 2(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“A supervisor shall,
(c) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
Mr. Wood was also found guilty of violating section 26.1, sub-section 2 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,
“If it is not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by at least one of the following methods of fall protection:
1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements of section 26.4.
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements of section 26.5.”
Where does everyone go wrong? Does no one read the Occupational Safety and Health Act anymore? Does no one read the appropriate regulations before the job starts? Is $30,000 enough of a fine for the life of a worker? I think not!!!
I wonder why the government of Ontario did not appeal this one. One can only wonder. If he continued to supervise other workers, that also would be a crime.
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.