Blog Post #140 – Vitrerie Lessard Inc. Fined $65,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Vitrerie Lessard Inc., a Quebec manufacturer and installer of windows and other glass and aluminum designs, was fined $65,000 on September 14, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On December 11, 2007, workers were installing windows on an apartment building in Ottawa. They were working from a suspended platform just below the second floor. One worker, who was about to step down to the platform from the second floor slab, had a lifeline tied to a nearby window frame. The worker untied the lifeline and it sprang out of grasp. The worker lunged for it and fell through the space between the building and the suspended platform. The worker suffered a broken arm and pelvis.

Vitrerie Lessard Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker on the safe use of a suspended platform.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Brian Mackey. 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,

Vitrerie Lessard Inc. was found guilty of a contravention for section 25, subsection 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

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

My opinion,

For those who are regulars to the HRS Group Inc. weblogs, you are aware that I am in the middle of creating a ‘Fall Protection’ mini series and it looks like this company needed to have looked them up.

In Ontario, all training needs to cover the competency standards as laid out in the ‘Definitions’ section of the OHSA. The Ministry of Labour easily could have issued other charges but section 25, subsection 2(a) covers a broad range of issues I guess they felt this was enough. Funny though, ‘Falls’ are the number one killer in the ‘Construction’ sector.


Vitrerie Lessard was fortunate to come away with such a small fine.

Fall Protection training covers two critical areas;

1) Fall Prevention
2) Fall Arrest

‘Fall Prevention’ is exactly what it says it is. The prevention of fall hazards and this category also includes the idea for recognition of fall hazards in the work place. People would carelessly walk by a fall hazard because they are not looking for it or maybe they do not recognize it as such. Training would have put them on the right path.

HRS Group prides itself in providing top notch training in all fields including Fall Protection. We normally include it as a back-to-back course along with Aerial Work Platform certification training. One is a pre-requisite for the other.

Don’t cut corners when it comes to training. Inferior training leads to incidents/accidents in the workplace and the ministry will apply blame which may be due to the poor training.

It has been our observation that in-house training can be very poor because it may be in conflict with company issues or its direction. At outside trainer, especially one that is affiliated with the CSSE, has to live up to a code of ethics. Any violation of the code of ethics and we can lose our designation, CHSC, which would lead us down a road I know Angela, our CHSC, is working hard to avoid. All courses go through Angela for content and it is her signature that goes on all the letters and certificates. (except for propane, which I am the certified trainer through the CSAO, the TSSA and now the OPA/CPA.

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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