Blog Post #499 – ELFA Realty Inc. Fined $60,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

ELFA Realty Inc., operating as Prudential ELFA Realty, a Brampton commercial real estate and property management company, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On October 6, 2010, workers from the company were demolishing part of an industrial building on Rutherford Rd. S. in Brampton. They were removing the existing sheet metal roof by cutting sections from the roof and letting them fall to the ground. After taking a break, the workers used a scissor lift to regain access to the roof. One of the workers stepped from the lift onto a section of roof that had been cut. The worker fell to the ground 7.62 meters below.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the workers had not been wearing fall protection.

ELFA Realty Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that workers exposed to a fall hazard of three meters or more were protected by an adequate form of fall protection.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Barnes. 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

ELFA Realty Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.1 (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:

“A fall restricting system that meets the requirements.”

Any time an employee is at risk of a fall of 3 metres or more then the worker has to have some type of ‘Fall Protection’ to ensure his/her safety. I wonder if the company just thought, “Well, he was only going to be at risk for a short time.” Well folks, the accident occurred any way.

This accident never did need to happen. The work could have been competed another way and the workers would NEVER be put at risk.

I had a situation recently where I was completing Basic Certification, Level 2, at one of the local Canadian Tire stores. There, at the front, was a Genie Boom with two men in the basket. Both were wearing harnesses but not one was tied off. The project supervisor was standing at the base of the boom and I approached him and let him know he was in non-compliance. He stated, (with a smirk) “They will be down in a minute.” I reported the issue to the Floor Manager of the Canadian Tire store and he came out immediately to deal with the situation. By this time, the crew left the area and parked the vehicle. They knew they were in the wrong and decided to flee instead of facing the music.

Please ensure your company has updated training for Fall Protection. The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation is ready to take place and there seems to be a lack of incentive to be in compliance. I beg to differ. The MOL has other ideas. The new standard will be aimed at the ‘Construction’ sector but the others will be coming shortly after.

By the way, at an update MOL meeting last January, all training providers were instructed on the changes and made special mention that all supervisors will be held fully responsible.

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.

We can also be reached at

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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