OHS Canada Magazine

Ontario construction firm fined $75K after worker critically injured in fall


August 3, 2022
By Todd Humber

Health & Safety Construction Fines ontario

An Ontario construction company has been fined $75,000, plus a 25 per cent victim surcharge, after a worker suffered serious injuries in a 16-foot fall.

On Oct. 29, 2020, four workers employed by Domm Construction were working on the construction of a new barn in Ayton, Ont.

The workers were installing ‘girts’ on top of the roof trusses of the barn. Girts are 16-foot long, two-inch by four-inch timbers nailed to the inclined top timbers of roof trusses.

One worker went down the incline to get additional girts. On the way back up, the worker stepped on the end of a girt that had been set in place but not yet nailed in. The unsecured girt slid down the inclined timber of the truss. The sudden, unexpected movement caused the worker to fall about 16 feet to the concrete floor of the barn and suffer a critical injury.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation determined that Domm Construction had not established or trained workers on a safe procedure for installing girts.

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In addition, despite being exposed to a fall of more than three metres, the injured worker was not protected by a method of fall protection. The workers had personal fall protection harnesses and lanyards at the job site, but none of them were wearing the equipment, and there were no lifelines nor retractable lifelines set up on the roof.

The workers had received formal Working at Heights Training, as required under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), but no site or task-specific training was provided by the employer, the province said in a press release.

Accordingly, Domm Construction Ltd. failed as an employer to take the reasonable precaution of developing and/or implementing a safe work procedure for installing girts. Furthermore, Shawn Weltz failed as a supervisor to ensure that workers were protected by a method of fall protection.

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