Blog Post #558 – Structform International Limited Convicted, Fined $85,000 after Worker Injured Falling Through Floor

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Structform International Limited, a Toronto company subcontracted to supply and install concrete formwork, has been convicted and fined $85,000 after a worker fell through a hole in the floor of a building under construction.

On April 22, 2009, employees of Structform were at work on a commercial building at 125 Queen’s Quay East in Toronto. One of the workers was assigned the task of grinding the concrete floor of the fourth storey to prepare it for finishing work.

The worker noticed a piece of plywood on the floor and went to pick it up and move it out of the way; the worker was not aware that it was covering a hole in the floor. The worker fell almost 13 feet and landed on the third floor below. The resulting injuries included damage to the worker’s foot and back.

Structform International Limited was found guilty of failing, as an employer, to ensure that an opening on a work surface had either a guardrail system or a protective covering that was securely fastened and adequately identified as covering an opening. The law requires employers to take the measures or procedures needed for safety.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace M.H. Conacher. 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:

Structform International Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.3, sub-section 2 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:

1. A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section.
2. A protective covering that,
i. completely covers the opening,
ii. is securely fastened,
iii. is adequately identified as covering an opening,
iv. is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be subjected, and
v. is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.”

Structform International Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety ACT (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation here in Ontario became enforceable April 1st of this year. The MOL is taking a hard stance on falls in the workplace and is driving that position home on the provincial construction site. Section 26 is long and has everything an employer will need to work safely from elevated heights. Mind you, that now covers ladder safety, elevated work platform safety, scaffolding safety among others.

Please review the appropriate and relevant sections of the ACT as well as the sector regulations you happen to be working in.

By the way, the supervisor better be properly trained as well. The Ministry has taken a hard-line approach and during the presentation meeting we attended, it was announced that the ‘Supervisor’ better practice ‘Due Diligence’ or be prepared to be fined and/or go to jail.

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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