Blog Post #143 – Two Ottawa Construction Companies Fined $90,000 Total After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Urbandale Construction Limited, a residential construction company from Ottawa, was fined $40,000 on September 24, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured. Laren Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Tony Olsen Enterprises, an Ottawa roofing contractor, was fined $50,000 in relation to the same incident.

On June 20, 2008, Urbandale Construction was building residential townhouses with Tony Olsen Enterprises constructing the roofs. A worker on the roof of one of the townhouses threw a pallet off the roof towards a waste bin on the ground. The pallet hit another worker who was walking between the building and the bin. This second worker suffered injuries to the head, shoulder and neck.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that neither company had provided a safe method of disposing of debris from the roof.

Both companies pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing to ensure that the debris was lowered from the roof by a chute, in a container, or by a crane or hoist.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Beverly Souliere. 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Urbandale Construction Limited and Laren Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Tony Olsen Enterprises, were both convicted under section 35(2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Rubbish, debris and other materials shall not be permitted to fall freely from one level to another but shall be lowered by a chute, in a container or by a crane or hoist.”

I have to admit that I was not aware of this piece of legislation. The ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 is one of the largest sector specific regulations and seems to have more things covered than not.

How often do you see a chute from an elevated height all the way to the ground to dispose of waste or garbage? Again, I was unsure if there were any sections covering this type of issue. I should have known that the MOL would have experienced this type of concern before and placed legislation to cover any current concerns. It takes the H&S coordinator for a company, or just a H&S consultant to bring this to the employer’s attention to initiate corrective action so that all possible debris issues are covered.

It may sound like overkill but ask the two companies if the costs to insert a chute more than covers the $90,000 fine and the lost of a spotless reputation. I bet they have it as part of the company policy now.

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. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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