Excerpt from the OH&S Canada Magazine

Four construction workers at a sports complex that will serve as the practice facility for the Montreal Canadiens escaped with only minor injuries after a portion of the structure collapsed on February 25, 2011.

The $30-million complex, being developed by Axor Inc., is to be located in the southern Montreal suburb of Brossard and is expected to be completed this fall. It will house two ice rinks, an indoor soccer field and other training facilities.

The incident occurred when large steel beams, comprising about 10 to 15 per cent of the soccer area’s skeletal frame, came crashing to the ground, says Axor spokesperson Marie-Jose Gagnon. Some workers were left hanging in their safety harnesses for several minutes before being retrieved by fellow employees.

Gagnon reports that two workers experienced shock, one complained of shoulder pain, and another reported back pain. All four workers were able to return to work the following day.

The construction site was shut down following the accident so that a full check of structural stability could be completed, says (CSST) spokesperson Eric Arseneault.

The construction project was the subject of a routine inspection last December 19, Arseneault says. As a result of the visit, three orders were issued against Axor, citing the need to create a safety program and to eliminate slipping hazards on site, he says.

Axor has since fully complied with the orders, Arseneault reports.

My opinion

I am wondering if a ‘Professional Engineer’ was involved with the project and, if so, was his/her instructions followed to the letter? If the answer is yes to the first question than the answer to the second question would be no. There was no indication or mention of any liability aimed at a professional engineer.

In Ontario, the engineer would have been subject to section 31, sub-section 2 of the OHSA which states,

“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 on his or her certification required under this Act that is made negligently or incompetently, a worker is endangered.”

At present, there is not any further published information to deal with this issue. If and when that information is made available, I will review and re-post to educate the readership.

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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