Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Gestion Beaumet Inc., a Quebec construction company, was fined a total of $80,000 on October 13, 2010, for failing to post warning signs at a construction project, a violation the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
In June 2008, Gestion Beaumet Inc. was demolishing the decommissioned Hearn Generating Station at 44 Unwin Ave. in Toronto. On June 15, 2008, two people broke into the demolition site while it was closed. One of the trespassers was fatally injured at the site. Police and paramedics were called to rescue the individual. When Ministry of Labour inspectors arrived to investigate, there were no “danger” signs posted to warn workers, including the police and paramedics, about the hazards in the building. There were also no signs warning about the asbestos hazard that was present.
After a trial, Gestion Beaumet Inc. was found guilty of failing, as a constructor, to ensure that signs were posted in prominent locations and in sufficient numbers to warn workers of a hazard on a project. Gestion Beaumet Inc. was also found guilty of failing, as a constructor, to identify an asbestos dust hazard using clearly visible signs. The company was fined $40,000 for each offense.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Habte Worku. In addition to the fines, 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:
Gestion Beaumet Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 44, subsection 1 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,
“Signs meeting the requirements of subsection 2 shall be posted in prominent locations and in sufficient numbers to warn workers of a hazard on a project.”
Gestion Beaumet Inc. was also found guilty of violating section 15, subsection 1 of the Ontario ‘Asbestos on Construction projects’ regulation 278/05 which states,
“The following measures and procedures apply to type 2 and type 3 operations:
1) The work area shall be identified by clearly visible signs warning of an asbestos dust hazard.”
I wonder how many of the contractors out there felt the punishment was pretty harsh because of the trespasser? Well, signs MUST be posted during many circumstances. Here we found Gestion Beaumet Inc. guilty of not only refusing to place proper signs about apparent dangers, but they did not help their cause by not having other signs showing an Asbestos dust hazard as well. One they may have gotten away with but the second violation just showed their lack of understanding of the Ontario workplace rules and regulations.
The asbestos issue is a tough one as there are 3 type of operations and there are rules governing the working around the asbestos dust and all the types of safe guards that MUST be in place prior to any worker entering the area.
It is too bad someone had to die for them to find out. It may have been a blessing, however, as the long term issue for asbestos contamination may not be felt for 20+ years or more.
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 ‘Asbestos Safety Awareness’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.