Blog Post #32 – EFCO Canada Company – Fines for Health & Safety

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A Nova Scotia maker of steel forms, used in construction, was fined $45,000 on August 21, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health & Safety (OHSA) In March 2008. A constructor was building an intake line from the Welland Canal to the Thorold Cogeneration power site. To do this, they needed to install a cofferdam, a structure built below water level that serves as a dry workplace. EFCO designed and provided the parts for the cofferdam. On March 28, 2008, the constructor had installed the cofferdam and was removing the water inside it when the cofferdam failed. No workers were hurt.

An investigation found that the cofferdam failed because certain bolts had not been supplied and installed as required. EFCO Canada Co., pleaded guilty under the OSHA to failing to take the reasonable precaution of providing the bolts necessary to secure the water plate girders in the cofferdam. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to special provincial fund to assist victims of crime.

2nd and 3rd Violations

EFCO Canada Co., was fined $125,000 on November 26, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused workers to be injured. James McGerrigle, a professional engineer with the company, was fined $10,000 in relation to the same incident.

In the fall of 2007, a bridge was being built across 18 Mile River on County Rd. 86 near Lucknow, Ontario. EFCO Canada Co. provided the design plans and structural components for the support structure to hold up the bridge during its construction. Mr. McGerrigle produced the design plans. These included structural components of which he did not know the load bearing capacity. On November 10, 2007, the structure collapsed, seriously injuring several workers.

After a trial, EFCO Canada Co. was found guilty, as a supplier, of failing to supply equipment that was capable of withstanding all loads and forces that were likely to be applied to it.

James McGerrigle was found guilty, as a professional engineer, of providing design plans for a bridge support structure that was incapable of supporting the loads to which it was to be subjected.

One violation covers Architects and Engineers Section 31 (2)

An architect as defined in the Architects Act, and a professional engineer as defined in the Professional Engineers Act, contravenes this Act if, as a result of his or her advice that is given or his or her certification required under this Act that is made negligently or incompetently, a worker is endangered.

The 2nd violation covers Section 31, (b)

Every person who supplies any machine, device, tool or equipment under any rental, leasing or similar arrangement for use in or about a workplace shall ensure,

(b) that the machine, device, tool or equipment complies with this Act and the regulations;

As you can plainly see, EFCO has a long way to go to provide the proper health and safety, both in the public as well as in the workplace for their workers. Their total lack of effort or their corner cutting and rule bending needs to stop. I hope the fines levied are giving them the wake up call needed to make them better corporate citizens. Only then will the rest of us sleep easy.

James McGerrigle needs to go back to school and upgrade his engineer skills. Would you want him to build your next bridge? I think not! As an example, the bridge across to PEI was an engineering marvel. The ice wells and support struts were made to exceed expectation. Mr. McGerrigle needs to apply the same standards to his next project, if he gets one.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal – CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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