Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Mattamy 2000 Inc., of Oakville, was fined $55,000 yesterday for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. Foremont Drywall Inc., of Brampton, was fined $45,000 in relation to the same incident.
On July 8, 2008, Mattamy 2000 Inc. was constructing new houses on Ford Wilson Dr. in Newmarket. Foremont Drywall Inc. was subcontracted to install drywall and stucco in the houses. Two workers subcontracted by Foremont Drywall Inc. were applying stucco to the second-floor ceiling of one of the houses. One worker was standing on a second-floor balcony that overlooked the front entrance hall. There were no railings in place on the balcony. The worker stepped backwards and fell over three metres to the first floor below. The worker suffered broken and fractured bones and a concussion.
Mattamy 2000 Inc. and Foremont Drywall Inc. both pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the worker was protected by a guardrail system.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Roberto Zito. 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:
Mattama 2000 Inc. and Foremont Drywall Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.3(1) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,
“A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section shall be used if a worker has access to the perimeter or an open side of any of the following work surfaces and is exposed to a fall of 2.4 metres or more:
1. A floor, including the floor of a mezzanine or balcony;
2. The surface of a bridge;
3. A roof while form-work is in place; and
4. A scaffold platform or other work platform, runway or ramp.”
I still have a hard time believing how many companies cannot get their act together when it comes to ‘Fall Protection’. The legislation is quite clear on the subject yet again and again we find companies putting their employees at risk.
HRS Group Inc. commits a large part of its training curriculum to the training in Fall Protection. The course covers two areas of concern, Fall Prevention and Fall Arrest. Fall Arrest is pretty well self-explanatory so let us get into Fall Prevention.
Guard Rails are a large part of ‘Fall Prevention’. Having them is only half the battle. The structure of a set of guardrails is just as important as having them. Guardrails have to have the following;
1) Must have a top rail
2) Must have a mid-rail
3) If required, there must be toe-boards
4) Top rails needs to able to resisting anywhere along the length of the system the following loads;
a) A point load of 675 newtons applied laterally to the top rail (Approximately 150 lbs of force)
b) A point load of 450 newtons applied in a downward direction (Approximately 100 lbs of force)
c) A point load of 450 newtons applied laterally to the mid-rail (Approximately 100 lbs. of force)
d) A point load of 450 newtons applied downward to the mid-rail (Approximately 100 lbs. of force)
e) A point load of 225 newtons applied laterally to the toe-board (Approximately 50 lbs of force)
f) The top rail must be 39″ +/- 3″ in height
g) There must be a mid-rail (no height requirement)
h) And, if the system is made of spruce, the post cannot be any further apart than 2.4 metres.
The information is there for all to review. It is, again, too bad that we find more and more companies not reading their appropriate section of the ACT and sector regulation.
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’ and Working at Heights’. 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.