Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Tega Developments Inc., a builder of residential housing projects in the Ottawa area, has been fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured during a fall.
On June 3, 2011, a worker who was installing permanent handrails on a staircase inside a house fell about 18 feet (5.48 metres) to the ground level, sustaining several injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the workers on the site were not adequately protected from falling as required by construction regulations. A number of guardrails were missing, the injured worker had not been equipped with a fall protection system and there were no danger signs warning workers of hazardous openings.
Tega Developments pleaded guilty to failing, as a constructor, to comply with the requirements for guardrails as prescribed under the construction regulation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John Balkwell. 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:
Tega Developments was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.1, subsection 3, of the Ontario construction regulation 213/91 which states,
“A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section shall be used if a worker has access to the perimeter or an open side of any of the following work surfaces and is exposed to a fall of 2.4 metres or more:
1. A floor, including the floor of a mezzanine or balcony.
2. The surface of a bridge.
3. A roof while form-work is in place.
4. A scaffold platform or other work platform, runway or ramp.”
The new working at heights legislation will be made law this year starting with the construction sector. Section 26 of the construction regulations will be enforced and training will be a renewable 3 year program. The training will cover all PPE, (including lanyards, harnesses and fall limiters), floor coverings and guardrails.
The onus will be on the employer and supervisor to ensure that all employees comply with the new standard. The MOL has made it very clear that supervisors will be held fully responsible. As an employer you should ensure that your supervisors are encouraged to take that the new training as well as their workers.
There is no way that this employee should’ve been hurt if all fall hazards had been recognized, assessed and controlled prior to any work being done instead of after or during a fall. That is the law!
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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.