Blog Post #711 – Design Air Ltd. Fined $70,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Design Air Ltd., a Thornhill heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company, was fined $70,000 after a worker was fatally injured.

On April 16, 2012, a supervisor employed by Design Air Ltd. and an apprentice prepared to repair an HVAC unit at a residential home in Toronto. The HVAC unit was located on top of a flat roof at the rear of the residence. The apprentice was sent up to the roof to look at the equipment while the supervisor performed other tasks. A short time later, the apprentice was found lying on the ground at the rear of the residence. The apprentice suffered fatal injuries as the result of a fall.

A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the apprentice had fallen about nine metres and was not wearing any form of fall arrest equipment at the time of the fall.

Design Air Ltd., pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that a worker was protected by a fall arrest system as required by law, and was fined $70,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Sunny Ng. 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:

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

“An employer shall,

(h) Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

The new ‘Working at Heights’ legislation covers all the necessary requirements needed to protect workers from accidentally falling on the worksite. Here we find a supervisor for Design Air Ltd. either did not understand the legislation or refused to act upon it.

God, they has so many ways to protect the workers. Here are a few examples that Design Air Ltd. could have used:

1) Guardrails;
2) Bump Lines;
3) Travel Restraint Systems; and/or
4) Fall Arrest components,

I am sorry to sound so taken back by this but this seems to be an issue of cost vs protection or total ignorance of the law. Either way, the worker is still dead and Ontario has another statistical reason to promote ‘Working at Heights’.

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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