Blog Post #561 – Cambridge Company Fined $75,000 for Failure to Provide Supervision

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

MacDonald Steel Limited, a Cambridge company in the business of custom steel fabrication, has been fined $75,000 after a worker fell from the plant’s blast room roof and was critically injured.

On February 25, 2012, a worker was checking the rooftop doors of the plant’s blast room to find the cause of a noise when the doors opened and the worker fell 24 feet to the steel grate floor. The worker suffered fractured bones and a concussion, among other injuries.

At the time of the incident, the worker was not wearing a safety harness or any fall-arresting gear which was available. The worker had an assigned supervisor who was not present in the workplace at the time of the event nor was any other person supervising the worker’s activities.

MacDonald Steel Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to provide supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker at the workplace.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson. 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:

MacDonald Steel Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(a) The equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided.”

MacDonald Steel Limited could have been charged with multiple other sections of the Act. For instance, section 25, subsection 2(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act could also have been used. The employer is responsible for ensuring a competent person as a supervisor. If the supervisor has not received adequate training, then the employer is at fault. If the supervisor DID receive supervisory training, including the ramifications of ‘Due Diligence’ then he or she could have been charged under section 27, subsection 1 (a) and (b) of the OHSA which states,

“a supervisor shall ensure that,

(a) a worker works in the manner and with the protective devices measures and procedures required by this act and the regulations, and

(b) uses or wears the equipment, protector devices or clothing at the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.”

As the reader can see, the employer has to do everything reasonable to protect the worker. The employer shall ensure the worker receives the information, instruction and supervision to protect the health and safety of the worker.

That is also 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’, ‘Due Diligence’ 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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