Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Roofing Medics Ltd., a roofing installation company based in Brampton, has been fined $50,000 and its supervisor, Paul Markewycz, jailed for 15 days for violations of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed in a fall from a residence in Toronto.
On August 16, 2011, three employees of Roofing Medics and Markewycz, who is the director and owner/operator of Roofing Medics, were conducting a new roofing project in Toronto. One of the workers was installing roofing membrane from a ladder when he lost his balance and fell. The worker fell about six metres and struck a fence. The worker was wearing fall protection equipment but it was not affixed to anything at the time of the fall.
The worker was taken to hospital by Mr. Markewycz and pronounced dead about an hour later.
The hospital requested the assistance of York Regional Police in identifying the dead worker. Markewycz was called by police and he advised that the dead worker fell at the Markewycz home in Brampton while helping to install roof vents.
A Ministry of Labour inspector was advised of the incident by the coroner; he attended at the Markewycz home to conduct an investigation
The next day the inspector re-attended to continue the investigation along with two other inspectors. Peel Regional Police also conducted an investigation over a period of eight days.
On August 23, 2011, a week after the incident, Markewycz and his counsel met with two of the inspectors to provide a statement to the Ministry of Labour, advising that the incident did not occur at his residence in Brampton but instead occurred in Toronto. He also stated that the dead worker was employed by Roofing Medics Ltd. and that the worker was installing waterproofing materials at a Roofing Medics project when the incident occurred. Roofing Medics Ltd. did not notify an inspector immediately of the fatality nor did they send a written report of the circumstances of the occurrence to a director of the ministry within 48 hours of the occurrence, as required by law.
Significant Ministry of Labour and police resources were expended as a result of the false information provided by Mr. Markewycz.
Roofing Medics Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure safety measures were carried out as required and to failing to notify an inspector immediately of the occurrence within 48 hours as required by law. Markewycz pleaded guilty to failing as a supervisor to ensure that a worker works with the protective devices required by law and pleaded guilty to knowingly furnishing an inspector with false information.
Judgment as to the sentence took place on November 21. The sentence of 15 days in jail and fine of $50,000 was imposed by Ontario Provincial Court Justice C. Ann Nelson.
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:
Roofing Medics Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction regulation 213/91, section 26 and 26.1, subsections 1, 2, and 3 which states,
“Where a worker is exposed to any of the following hazards:
- Falling more than 3 metres;
“A worker shall be adequately protected by at least one of the following methods of fall protection:
- A travel restraint system that meets the requirements;
- A fall restricting system that meets the requirements of section; or
- A fall arrest system.”
Roofing Medics Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“The employer shall ensure that,
The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Mr. Markewycz was found guilty of violating section 66; subsection 1 of the OHSA which states,
“Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with,
(a) A provision of this Act or the regulations;
(b) An order or requirement of an inspector or a Director; or
(c) An order of the Minister,
Is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months, or to both.”
Mr. Markewycz was also found guilty of violating section 27, subsection 1 (a) of the OHSA which states,
“The supervisor shall ensure that a worker,
Works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations.”
And finally, Mr. Markewycz was found guilty of violating section 62, subsection 3 of the OHSA which states,
“No person shall knowingly furnish an inspector with false information or neglect or refuse to furnish information required by an inspector,
- in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations.”
What else is there to say? The MOL was very thorough in its investigation and the appropriate legislation was used. Mind you, the fines were not a clear deterrent to have any other company do the same thing in the future. The new ‘Working at Heights’ is sorely needed but enforcement is the key. $50,000 is not enough of a fine to impede the next investigation. I think 15 days is enough jail time for someone knowingly deflecting blame for a death in the workplace and providing false information.
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
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.