Innisfil contractor charged $60,000 after worker falls

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MTN Construction Inc., a concrete formwork contractor based in Innisfil, has been fined $60,000 after a worker was injured at a high-rise condominium building site in Waterloo.

According to a provincial court report, the worker, who “had not been given site-specific training nor had they been trained on where and how to properly tie off their fall protection equipment on this job site” fell 21 feet to the ground on Feb. 10, 2020.

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Kitchener, MTN Construction Inc. was fined $60,000.

The report says the company was providing concrete formwork at the project and work had progressed to the third floor of the building where workers were installing column formwork for the walls on the perimeter of the third floor.

The forms were made to be installed on reinforcing steel (rebar) already in place. In certain places, the rebar was bent 90 degrees at the top, requiring formwork to be split into two L-shaped forms in order to fit around the rebar. Workers had installed between 50 and 150 similar columns, some of which were of the same L-shaped type. The forms were lifted into place by a tower crane, the report explained.

“That morning one worker directed the crane operator to lower the first L-shaped form, where it was affixed around the rebar. One side of the form was on the exterior south side of the floor, and the other was on the interior east side,” Justice Laura Y. Gorczynski said in her ruling.

“The worker installed one shoring post (a type of scaffolding) on an angle to support the interior side of the form. Although it was the normal practice to also brace the exterior side, in this instance no shoring or bracing was installed to support the exterior side.”

The worker tied fall protection equipment to the first L-shaped formwork once it was in place and a crane moved it to the third floor.

“At some point, the centre of gravity of the first formwork section shifted south, away from the building, and the approximately-550-pound formwork fell over the edge of the building, pulling the worker who was tied to it to the ground,” Gorczynski wrote.

An investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development determined that while MTN had a written formwork procedure, workers had not been specifically trained on this written procedure and were not aware there was a specific written procedure, although they were aware that bracing was required. In any event, the procedure did not contain any specific procedure for bracing formwork.

All workers had working at heights training, but had not been given site-specific training, and had not been trained on where and how to properly tie off their fall protection equipment on this job site.

The contractor had a site tie-off procedure, but none of the workers had been trained on it prior to the incident. Fall protection equipment was made available to workers, but it was left to the workers to decide which type of fall arrest equipment was appropriate for any given circumstance.

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