Post #357 – Employer Fined $26,000 Total after Multiple Convictions

Post #357 – Employer Fined $26,000 Total after Multiple Convictions

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Lushington Grant, sole proprietor of Mississauga-based Century Estates, was fined $26,000 on June 24, 2011, after being convicted of multiple violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

On January 15, 2008, ministry inspectors visited a house construction project on Israel Zilber Drive in Vaughan. The inspectors entered the project and found a series of violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, including:

– workers climbing down from their work location using a bent piece of lumber instead of stairs, a runway, a ramp or a ladder;
– a basement opening that did not have a guardrail or protective covering;
– stairs that did not have a securely fastened and supported handrail; and
– a worker that was not wearing head protection or foot protection.”

The inspectors also observed workers working at heights without fall or head protection. The inspectors were told by the workers that the fall protection equipment was in the van of their employer, Lushington Grant, and that he was not on site. Upon his arrival, Mr. Grant obstructed the inspection by refusing to answer questions asked by an inspector and then leaving the site.

On January 25, 2008, an inspector returned to the site to serve one of Mr. Grant’s workers with an offence notice. Mr. Grant provided false information to the inspector regarding the worker.

After a trial, Justice of the Peace Hazel Hodson-Walker found Mr. Grant guilty of eight counts and fined him a total of $26,000. The $26,000 fine included a $10,000 fine for obstruction and a $10,000 fine for providing false information. 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.

My opinion

I normally quote the law(s) broken prior to my opinion on the matter, but this case encouraged me to change things around.

Lushington Grant, the sole proprietor for Century Estates was found guilty of so many things I was very surprised that the total was only $26,000. The maximum fine for the total could have been $200,000 and possible company fines as high as $500,000 for each contravention. (if warranted) There even could have been a jail sentence up to a year.

Yes, Mr. Grant was a very lucky man. The judge, in the matter, erred on the size of the fine. All the convictions are listed below and a message was needed to be sent. It would not surprise me if Mr. Grant went back to his old ways. I would even wager that any employee that talked to the MOL has now been let go. That in itself is a violating of section 50 of the OHSA, which protects the employee from any further action, harassment, coercion or dismissal because of the communication to the MOL.

The law(s) in contravention:

1) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 62 (1) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“No person shall hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with or attempt to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of a power or the performance of a duty under this ACT or the regulations or in the execution of a warrant issued under this ACT, or the Provincial Offences Act with respect to a matter under this Actor the regulations.”

2) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 62 (3) of the OHSA which states,

“No person shall knowingly furnish an inspector with false information or neglect or refuse to furnish information required by an inspector:

(a) in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties under this Act or the regulations; or
(b) in the execution of a warrant issued under this Act or the Provincial Offences Act with respect to a matter under this Act or the regulations.”

3) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 22 (1) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Every worker shall wear protective headwear at all times when on a project.”

4) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 23 (1) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Every worker shall wear protective footwear at all times when on a project.”

5) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 26.1 (2) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“A worker shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system that meets the requirements of subsections 26.3 (2) to (8).”

6) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of 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 an 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 kilonewtons per square metre without exceeding the allowable unit stresses for the material used.”

7) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 70 (1) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Runways, ramps and platforms other than scaffold platforms shall meet the requirements of this section.”

8) Lushington Grant was found guilty of a contravention of section 77 (2)(e) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Stairs shall have,

e) a securely fastened and supported wooden handrail on the open sides of each flight.”

Enough said!

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 including ‘Fall Protection’, Working at Heights’ and ‘Health and ‘Safety Law and the Supervisor’. 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.

Dan
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