Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

EFCO Canada Co., a supplier of steel form products and services, was fined $125,000 on November 26, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused workers to be injured. James McGerrigle, a professional engineer with the company, was fined $10,000 in relation to the same incident.

In the fall of 2007, a bridge was being built across 18 Mile River on County Rd. 86 near Lucknow, Ontario. EFCO Canada Co. provided the design plans and structural components for the support structure to hold up the bridge during its construction. Mr. McGerrigle produced the design plans. These included structural components of which he did not know the load bearing capacity. On November 10, 2007, the structure collapsed, seriously injuring several workers.

After a trial, EFCO Canada Co. was found guilty, as a supplier, of failing to supply equipment that was capable of withstanding all loads and forces that were likely to be applied to it.

James McGerrigle was found guilty, as a professional engineer, of providing design plans for a bridge support structure that was incapable of supporting the loads to which it was to be subjected.

The fines were imposed by Justice Wayne Rabley. 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:

EFCO Canada Co. was found guilty of a contravention of  section 87, subsection 1 (b) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Form-work, false-work or re-shoring shall be signed, constructed, supported and braced so that they are capable of withstanding all loads and forces likely to be applied to them,

b) Without causing uplift, sliding, overturning or lateral displacement of the system.”

EFCO Canada Co. was found guilty of violating section 31, (1) (b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act which states,

“Every person who supplies any machine, device, tool or equipment under any rental, leasing or similar arrangement for use in or about a workplace shall ensure,

b) That the machine, device, tool or equipment complies with this ACT and the regulations.”

And finally,

James McGerrigle was found guilty of violating section 31(2) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act which states,

“An architect as defined in the Architects Act, and a professional engineer as defined in the Professional Engineers ACT, contravenes this ACT if, as a result of his or her advice that is given or his or her certification required under this ACT that is made negligently or incompetently, a worker is endangered.”

My opinion,

The Engineering world and the Architectural world are set to the very highest of standards. Even so, the ACT has placed protection to cover the incident/accident of a worker due to the misuse of that high standard.

Here we fine the company at fault as well as the professional engineering standards severely lacking in this case. Workers were injured because the company failed to have Jamie McGerrigle properly research the materials prior to giving his stamp of approval.

One finds out that, in the event of an accident in the workplace, there is most often a safeguard not in place or the proper supervision of the safeguard that caused the accident. I cannot stress enough that the employer, or other individuals, in this case a professional engineer), leave no stone unturned when it comes to health and safety. The worker has to rely on them for protection and the MOL will enforce the law to make it so.

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 info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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