Blog Post #199 – Giffels Design-Building Inc. Fined $145,000 after Worker Killed

Blog Post #199 – Giffels Design-Building Inc. Fined $145,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

Giffels Design-Building Inc., a Toronto-based designer and constructor, was fined $145,000 for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.

On July 29, 2008, a worker died after falling through a floor opening at a construction project at 8020 Fifth Line, Halton Hills. The worker was on the mezzanine, stepped around a barrier of snow fencing and fell about eight metres.

Giffels Design-Building Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to protect the worker from falling through the floor opening with either a guardrail system or a protective covering.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Denis Lee. 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,

Giffels Design-Building 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
subjected, and
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.”

My opinion,

The ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91 has the most extensive sections for ‘Fall Protection’ in Ontario. Where would you want them to be? Mining, Industrial Establishments, Healthcare, Farming and Forestry? They all have other issues to deal with. ‘Falls’ are the #1 killer in construction, accounting for 40% of construction fatalities every year and 20% of the lost time injuries.

The MOL does its best to convince companies to invest in training and to review the appropriate sections of the ACT and sector regulations. It is their goal to encourage the employees to do everything reasonable to protect their workers. Giffels did not see fit to read the sections of the regulation and protect the workers. I bet they have a wonderful ‘Fall Protection’ program in place now, one where training is of paramount importance. Too late for this worker, though, isn’t it?

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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



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