Blog Post #989 – Director of Roofing Company Jailed, Fined $10,000 for Failure to Follow Safety Rules

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

An employer with two previous convictions for safety violations has been sentenced to one day imprisonment and a fine of $10,000 for ignoring safety regulations. No one fell or was injured.

The employer, Steve Bell, was charged with failing as an employer to ensure a worker was adequately protected from falling. By law the worker should have been using a travel restraint system, fall-restricting system, fall arrest system or a safety net.

On October 7, 2015, a Ministry of Labour inspector attended a residence in Belleville and observed a roofer working at a height of more than three metres (about 26 feet) without being protected by fall protection. The worker’s employer, Steve Bell, was later charged with the offence.

Bell had two prior convictions for the same offence. One was a conviction in 2013 with a fine of $2,000 and the other was a conviction in 2015 with a fine of $4,500; no one fell or was injured. These convictions fall under the Construction Projects Regulation (Regulation 213/91) and the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Justice of the Peace Christopher I. Peltzer passed sentence in Belleville court on May 18, 2017.

The court also 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:

Steve Bell was convicted for a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91, section 26.1, subsection (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;
  2. A fall restricting system that meets the requirements; or
  3. A safety net that meets the requirements.”

Steve Bell was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Steve Bell knew the risks but chose to place his workplace in potential harm. As a safety professional I hear this type of story all the time.

There are many excuses and I have listed just a few:

  1. Why do I have to wear it?
  2. It is a trip hazard,
  3. I have never fallen before, and
  4. It is too much work.

What Steve Bell is really saying is that he has to slow his workforce down to wear safety equipment and this costs money. The equipment costs money AND he may NOT be able to get to another job today because the guys are so slow.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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.

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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