Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
755055 Ontario Ltd., operating as Rodco Enterprises, a Haliburton construction company, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. A supervisor from the company was fined $2,500 in relation to the same incident.
On December 21, 2010, workers from Rodco Enterprises were at a residential construction site on Kennisis Lake Rd. in Haliburton. The workers were laying sheets of chip board on a deck. The deck’s framing was complete but no floor had been laid. While positioning a chip board, one of the workers stepped backwards and fell between two deck joists. The worker fell over 3.66 meters to the ground and sustained fractures and a back injury.
755055 Ontario Ltd., operating as Rodco Enterprises, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a guardrail or fall arrest system was used while workers were exposed to a fall hazard of three meters or more.
In addition, after the injury, Rodco’s site supervisor directed workers to install guardrails and the deck floor before the Ministry of Labour attended the scene. This was done without the permission of a ministry inspector.
The supervisor pleaded guilty to interfering with, disturbing, or altering articles or things at the scene of a critical workplace injury.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Young. 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:
Rodco Enterprises was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,
“A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements.
(2) Despite subsection (1), 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;
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements;
3. A fall arrest system; or
4. A safety net that meets the requirements.
(3) The components of any system listed in subsection (2) shall be designed by a professional engineer in accordance with good engineering practice, and shall meet the requirements of any of the following National Standards of Canada standards that are applicable:
1. CAN/CSA-Z259.1-05: Body Belts and Saddles for Work Positioning and Travel Restraint.
2. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.1-98 (R2008): Fall Arresters, Vertical Lifelines and Rails.
3. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.2-98 (R2004): Self-Retracting Devices for Personal Fall-Arrest Systems.
4. CAN/CSA-Z259.2.3-99 (R2004): Descent Control Devices.
5. CAN/CSA-Z259.10-06: Full Body Harnesses.
6. CAN/CSA-Z259.11-05: Energy Absorbers and Lanyards.
7. CAN/CSA-Z259.12-01 (R2006): Connecting Components for Personal Fall Arrest Systems (PFAS).
(4) Before any use of a fall arrest system or a safety net by a worker at a project, the worker’s employer shall develop written procedures for rescuing the worker after his or her fall has been arrested.”
The supervisor was found guilty of violating section 51, subsection 2 of the OHSA which states,
Preservation of Wreckage
“(2) Where a person is killed or is critically injured at a workplace, no person shall, except for the purpose of,
(a) saving life or relieving human suffering;
(b) maintaining an essential public utility service or a public transportation system; or
(c) preventing unnecessary damage to equipment or other property,
interfere with, disturb, destroy, alter or carry away any wreckage, article or thing at the scene of or connected with the occurrence until permission so to do has been given by an inspector.”
The new working at heights will take care of most of this. The workplace in Ontario is going to drastically change starting with the ‘Construction’ sector. There is a great need for change there and I see the need every day I walk out my door. I drive by a site in downtown Toronto near Parliament and see 4 boom-supported lifts with no tie-offs. NONE! In downtown Toronto! Mason Homes is the builder for our sub-division and there are guys there not tied off as well. I mentioned this to the site supervisor (who was trained by me in Fall Protection) but he must have been asleep during the section 27 portion of the class showing supervisor responsibility.
I believe the only way to properly deal with all this is to increase the MOL inspector presence on the site and double or triple the immediate fines to at least a $1,000 per instance.
Ask yourself this? How often do you see workers not tied off. How often do you see the lack of guard rails? Your answer is almost always, EVERY TIME!
The new legislation cannot get here soon enough!!!!
By the way, the MOL made a point to let us know that the supervisor WILL be held responsible under the new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation. They made it known to us, as possible approved providers, to ensure the supervisors know this! I will attempt to pass this on to the site supervisor here. Actually, it will be his second time receiving the news. He should get it right one day.
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’, Supervisory Training’ 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.