March 20, 2015 3:15 P.M.Ministry of Labour
KITCHENER, ON - A construction firm pleaded guilty and has been fined $90,000 following the death of a young worker on a high-rise student housing project in Waterloo. Read More
On October 11, 2013 the worker was on the job site along with others at 185 King Street North in Waterloo. Central Construction had been subcontracted by Maison Canada, the primary constructor, to perform masonry work at the project.
The young worker was working on the 12th storey of the building, assisting in the delivery of concrete blocks to the roof. A tower crane had lifted a skid of concrete blocks to the roof and placed the skid onto wood planking. The way it was placed caused the skid to rest on an angle, creating a potential hazard (the blocks weighed about 3,500 pounds). The workers on the roof decided that the skid of blocks should be re-landed flat onto the roof; the load was re-strapped and lifted up and out. The skid then suddenly propelled toward an exterior parapet wall that surrounded the roof top.
The young worker was situated between the parapet wall and the skid of blocks; the worker hung on to the skid of blocks, which proceeded to trolley out, and crashed through the exterior parapet wall, knocking the worker from the roof top. The young worker fell four storeys to a mast climber (a type of powered scaffold that lifts and lowers); the fall was about 13.2 metres (43.3 feet).
The young worker was trained in fall protection but was not using any form of fall protection at the time of the incident. The parapet wall was 23-1/2 inches high (.59 metres) and did not constitute a guardrail. The worker sustained head and leg injuries and later died as a result of the fall.
Central Construction pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that a fall restricting system is used where a guardrail system is not reasonably possible, and was fined $90,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson.
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.
A 'young worker' is defined as a worker younger than 25 years old. New and young workers in Ontario are three times more likely to be injured during their first month on the job than at any other time.
Slips, trips and falls are some of the leading causes of workplace accidents in Ontario leading to injury and lost time at work. In Canada over 42,000 workers get injured annually due to fall accidents. Statistics show that the majority (66%) of these falls happen on the same level resulting from slips and trips. The remaining 34% are falls from a height.
Not to be taken lightly, these same-level situations can and do cause painful injuries such as bruising, sprains, broken bones, back injuries and worse. Employers, Supervisors and workers have a legal responsibility to work together to prevent and correct hazards.
Phil La Duke addresses this issue brilliantly in "Your Mother Doesn’t Work Here: Why Housekeeping Matters" citing that poor housekeeping "saps productivity, morale and operating efficiency, yet goes largely ignored. When every competitive dollar counts, it's puzzling that more shops don’t make a concerted effort to address a problem that is so easy to fix."
I encourage you to read the article here then make an action plan to get your workplace and job sites up to gloriously safe standards.