Ontario Construction News staff writer
Welldone Inc., a Toronto-based company that specializes in restoration work, has been fined $150,000 after a worker fell to his death from the roof of a 13-storey building in Hamilton.
The worker was not protected by a guardrail or travel restraint system as required by law, a court bulletin concluded.
The incident happened in October 2018 and the conviction was announced last week.
According to court documents, Welldone Inc. was fined after pleading guilty in provincial offences court in Hamilton by Justice of the Peace Patrice Valeriano.
A 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge was also imposed, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
Court heard the construction project consisted of the restoration of balconies on a residential building and was performed from a suspended swing stage.
The repair work on two wings had been completed when the incident occurred during the set up for work to be performed on the third of four wings.
Two workers on the rooftop at the time of the incident were not wearing any fall protection equipment, the court bulletin confirmed and were not otherwise protected from the hazard of falling off the edge of the building.
They were marking measurements to indicate the new location for a beam to support the suspended swing stage. One worker was on hands and knees holding the live end of the measuring tape and the other worker took the zero end of the measuring tape and walked towards the end of the wing to mark the location of the beam.
According to the court bulletin, the worker on hands and knees saw the measuring device continue beyond the expected distance and yelled for the co-worker to stop.
“At that point, the co-worker screamed while falling off the edge of the building. The co-worker was pronounced dead at the project by a regional coroner,” the report said.
Employers must follow the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulation 213/91, which applies to construction projects, to protect workers on a project.
One such requirement is section 26.1(2) which states a worker must be protected from falling when working at a height of more than three metres. Various fall protection methods can be used to protect a worker including, for example, a guardrail or a travel restraint system that prevents a worker from reaching the edge of a surface.
The defendant failed to ensure a worker was protected by a means of fall protection outlined is section 26.1(2) and thereby violated section 25(1)c of the OHSA.