Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A numbered company, 6322093 Manitoba Inc., operating as Global Recycling & Recovery in the business of scrap salvage, demolition and dismantling operations, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $55,000 after a worker fell and suffered fractures while removing equipment from a decommissioned Thunder Bay mill.
The company was contracted to dismantle and remove assets from a former mill located at 965 Strathcona Avenue in Thunder Bay.
On December 17, 2013, a worker was on the third floor of the mill and removing equipment by pushing it through an open hatchway, which would then fall to the floor below to be taken away. While pushing a large metal cabinet weighing approximately 150 pounds, the worker’s glove became caught in the cabinet and the worker was pulled over the edge of the hatchway. The worker fell about 5.84 metres (19 feet) and suffered numerous fractures.
A Ministry of Labour investigation that took place the same day determined that the workers were not protected by any means of fall protection while exposed to a fall hazard of more than three metres (9.84 feet). This is contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation).
The $55,000 fine was imposed by Regional Senior Justice of the Peace Raymond A. Zuliani in Thunder Bay court on September 11, 2015.
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:
Global Recycling & Recovery was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 26.1(2) which states,
“If it is not practicable to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, a worker shall be adequately protected by the highest ranked method that is practicable from the following ranking of fall protection methods:
1. A travel restraint system that meets the requirements; or
2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements; or
3. A fall arrest system, other than a fall restricting system designed for use in wood pole climbing, that meets the requirements; or
4. A safety net that meets the requirements.”
Global Recycling & Recovery was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) section 25(1)(c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
I am training a class in ‘Working at Heights’ this morning and found that the fall issues in ‘construction’ sector are slowly getting better thanks to the new training standard but examples like this one keep coming up. Now yes, the hazard may not have been able to be recognized (caught glove) but the real problem was the access to a large fall hazard that was not recognized, assessed and controlled before the worker arrived in the first place. Very disturbing!
I am also finding that many small firms are taking the training and NOT applying the knowledge. In my own area, I found scaffolding without guardrails, access ladders without grip feet, (actually it was upside down and not 3 feet over the edge of the work access area) and many examples of section 22 violated, (no hard hats) and finally, section 93 violations. Section 93 discusses the need to follow the safety guidelines listed in the owner’s manual and I watched a quick-cut saw operator without the following;
1) No hearing protection;
2) No respirator; (and fit testing)
3) No long pants and sleeves;
4) No safety glasses or face-shields;
5) No chaps; and
6) No checklist and SOPs to ensure safe use and start-up.
The regulations are there to ensure that all aspects of the work are being done safely. Mind you, some of the small employers STILL do not respect the laws or their workers. I actually had one small business owner say, “It is because of people like us that cause most of the accidents because they cannot do their jobs. I added the word “Safely” to his diatribe and it gave his rant a whole different meaning!
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 ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Working at Heights’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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