Toronto construction company fined $150K after worker fell to his death in Hamilton

A Toronto construction company that  specializes in restoration work has been fined $150,000 after a worker fell to his death from a three-storey residential building in Hamilton on Oct. 18, 2018.

Welldone Inc. was convicted in a provincial offences court in Hamilton on Oct. 1, just 17 days shy of two years after the incident.

According to a court bulletin released by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development on Friday, the worker was not protected by a guardrail or travel restraint system as required by law.

The construction project consisted of the restoration of balconies on the 13-storey residential building, and the restoration work was performed from a suspended swing stage.

The repair work on two wings had been completed, according to the bulletin, and the incident occurred during the set up for work to be performed on the third of four wings.

Worker screamed while falling off edge of building  

Two workers — who were on the rooftop at the time of the incident — were not wearing any fall protection equipment and were not otherwise protected from the hazard of falling off the edge of the building.

The workers were marking measurements to indicate the new location for a beam to support the suspended swing stage. 

One worker was on hands and knees and held and watched the live end of the measuring tape. The other worker took the zero end of the measuring tape and walked away towards the end of the wing to mark the location of the beam.

The bulletin notes that the worker on hands and knees saw the measuring device continue beyond the expected distance and yelled for the coworker to stop. At that point, the coworker screamed while falling off the edge of the building. 

The co-worker was pronounced dead at the project by a regional coroner.

A worker must be protected, regulation states  

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 court found that Welldone Inc. failed to ensure a worker was protected by a means of fall protection outlined in section 26.1(2) and thereby violated section 25(1)c of the OHSA.

Following a guilty plea, Welldone Inc. was fined $150,000 in provincial offences court in Hamilton by Justice of the Peace Patrice Valeriano; Crown Counsel Line Forestier.

The court also 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.

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