Blog Post #52 – T.K.S. Holdings Inc. And Supervisor Fined $55,000 Total After Partial Building Collapse

Blog Post #52 – T.K.S. Holdings Inc. And Supervisor Fined $55,000 Total After Partial Building Collapse

Excerpts from the Ontario Government Newsroom

T.K.S. Holdings Inc., an Ottawa real estate and construction company, pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000 on January 15, 2010, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a partial building collapse. The owner of the building and the company, Tony Shahrasebi, pleaded guilty and was fined $5,000.

On October 19, 2007, T.K.S. Holdings Inc. was renovating the historic Somerset House in Ottawa. Mr. Shahrasebi was supervising the project. Workers were using motorized construction equipment to underpin walls in the building’s basement when a section of the basement wall rotated and collapsed, bringing part of the building down with it. No one was injured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed the underpinning work was being done against the advice of a soils engineer. The collapse was caused by the load and vibration of the equipment being used, combined with bad soil conditions due to recent rain.

T.K.S. Holdings Inc. pleaded guilty, as a constructor, to allowing use of the construction equipment when weather or other conditions were such that its use could endanger a worker. Tony Shahrasebi pleaded guilty, as a supervisor, to failing to advise his workers of the dangerous conditions in the building.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Claudette Cain. 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:

T.K.S. Holdings Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario “Construction” sector  regulations 213/91, section 93, subsection 2 (b) which states,

“No vehicle, machine, tool or equipment shall be used, when the weather or other conditions are such that its use is likely to endanger a worker.”

The owner/supervisor was also Section 27 of the ACT, subsection 2 (a)

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker, works in a manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the ACT and the regulations.”

The OHSA is quite clear on the protection of the worker. The employer, T.K.S. Holdings Inc. needed to review, and understand, the ACT and all of its regulations before making any decision about work.

There is a list of definitions in the front of the ACT and competency under the ACT requires these 3 things:

1) Qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work;
2) Must be familiar with the ACT as well as the regulations that apply to the work; and
3) Must understand the hazards associated with what ever training or work being done. (my interpretation)(easier to understand)

The ACT is the LAW and the regulations explain how the ACT is to be directed and used.

The supervisor of any company needs to be reminded on a regular basis that he/she is responsible for the health and safety of their workers. The supervisor needs to know that if the company position is not quite where the safety legislation sits he/she can and will be held accountable for accidents, injuries and incidents that occur to their workers.

Practicing ‘Due Diligence’ is a 24/7 job for supervisors in Ontario.

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

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

Dan
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