Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Reg and Son Sheet Metal Inc. of Oakville was fined $65,000 for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.
On June 14, 2007, a worker received arm and back injuries after falling through an opening in the roof of a construction project at 3001 Richelieu St., Clarence-Rockland. The worker was gathering roofing materials with a wheelbarrow, stepped backwards through an opening and fell about six metres.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Reg and Son Sheet Metal Inc. did not cover openings it made in the roof the previous day. The company knew workers would be on the roof the next day.
Reg and Son Sheet Metal Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to protect the worker from falling through the opening with either a guardrail system or a protective covering.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Basile V. Marchand. 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:
Reg and Son Sheet Metal Inc. was found guilty of violating section 26.3(2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,
“One of the following precautions shall be used to prevent a worker from falling through an opening on a work surface:
1) A guardrail system that meets the requirements of this section;
2) A protective covering that,
i. completely covers the opening;
ii. is securely fastened;
iii. is adequately identified as covering as opening;
iv. is made from material adequate to support all loads to which the covering may be
v. is capable of supporting a live load of at least 2.4 KN per square meter without
exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.”
Two incidents, for me to deal with, that affects the same section of the construction regulations. Here we find Reg and Son Metal Inc. not understanding the section of the ACT stating they have to do everything reasonable to protect their workers and how that was to be applied was explained in the sector regulation. Obviously, they did not read either pieces of legislation. If they had, a worker would not have been hurt.
I realize it seems to be overkill writing two articles dealing with the same issues. I just wanted to show how much ‘Fall Protection’ awareness there is out there. These are only two we know of because a worker was injured. Employers are violating fall protection requirements every day and this needs to stop.
The province of Ontario requires everyone to be competent in all aspects of the working environment. Below is a small list to consider:
1) You should have training, knowledge and experience to organize the work;
2) You must become familiar with the ACT and appropriate regulations that apply to the work; and
3) You should be aware of the hazards associated with the work.
Reg and Son did not have the training, was unfamiliar with the ACT and the ‘Construction’ regulation and was obviously unaware of the fall hazards that they, themselves, developed. If they had noticed the hazard, it would have been guarded or a protective cover screwed into the floor, and a sign attached to make others aware of the fall hazard. All these things are listed in the appropriate sections of the regulations and are mandatory.
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