Blog Post #123 – Star Ornamental Company Ltd. Fined $75,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Star Ornamental Company Ltd., a Stoney Creek metal fabricator, was fined $75,000 on July 27, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was critically injured.

On July 2, 2008, Star Ornamental was installing a vertical access ladder at a construction project on Barton St. E. in Hamilton. A piece of structured steel needed to be removed, and the company president instructed a worker how to cut the steel and tie off. After cutting the steel with the help of another worker, the first worker fell off the ladder to the concrete floor, between 2.44 and 3.04 meters below, sustaining critical injuries to the head, ribs, and neck.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was not using fall protection, and that neither worker was adequately trained in fall protection or construction regulations.

Star Ornamental Company Ltd. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the worker was adequately trained in the use of the fall protection system and/or given instruction by a competent person.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lillian D. Ross. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, 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) broken,

Star Ornamental Company Ltd. was convicted under the Ontario Construction regulation 213/91 section 26, subsection 2(1)

“An employer shall ensure that a worker who may use a fall protection system is adequately trained in its use and given adequate oral and written instructions by a competent person.”

Here we find another member of upper management that assumed, “since I have never had an accident, I know what I am doing.” Too bad for the employee! The employee was looking at months, or years, of rehab thanks to the employer not understanding his/her responsibility under the law. Every employee needs to be properly and adequately trained in Fall Protection and if any employer feels otherwise, they should review section 1(1) of the ‘definitions’ section that precedes the ACT. Competency is explained in detail and it must be adhered to.

1) You must have the experience knowledge and training to organize the work.
2) You must know the ACT and the regulations that apply to the work, and
3) You must know the associated hazards that go along with the work.

Here we find a worker unaware of the extent of the fall hazard that was presented. The employer just did not feel it necessary to go in such detail, hence the $75,000 fine.

Education for the employee would have been around $100.00.

The government would say, as the old commercial use to, “Pay me now or pay me later.”

Oh yes, the president could have been convicted under section 32 of the ACT and the company was also in violation of section 25, subsection 2(a) which states,

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

Since my approach for this week and next was to focus on Fall Protection legislation from the Construction regulations 213/91, section 26, I felt I had to add this one at this time.

The timing was perfect, don’t you think?

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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