Working at Heights Charges and Fines
Despite the province introducing new Working at Heights standards and training requirements last April, we continue to see workers being injured and companies and owners being fined. Here are a few:
1) A roofing company's owner was fined $14 000 for failing to ensure his workers wore fall protection equipment. Just two days earlier the MoL had fined the company $4 000 for a similar offense.
2) A roofing company has been convicted of two offenses for not exercising due diligence. The company had installed guardrails and temporary anchors on the roof and provided fall protection equipment for its workers. However, a portion of the guardrail was routinely opened, so workers could dump garbage off the roof into a bin. The company did not have a clear process for the removing of the guardrail and the garbage dumping. (Under the Green Book any time you remove a guardrail your workers must wear fall protection equipment, you must have barriers and signage and a spotter.)
3) A hotel maintenance manager was fired for refusing to work without fall protection. The hotel's general manager was pressuring the maintenance manager to perform work on the hotel using a scaffold, the maintenance manager refused the work because the hotel would not provide fall protection equipment. The hotel fired the maintenance manager claiming he wasn't skilled enough for the position. The Labour Relations Board sided with the working saying it was clear he was fired as a reprisal for exercising his right to refuse unsafe work. (under the Green Book it is against the law to for employers to impose reprisals on workers who exercise their rights under the Act or ask employers to live up to their responsibilities.)
4) $170 000 in fines after worker falls from scaffolding and dies. The worker was part of a masonry crew bricking the exterior walls of a building from a scaffolding system. The worker fell between the scaffolding and the wall when he was trying to go from one scaffold to another. Ladders had not been provided for the workers. MoL inspector found one of the scaffolds had numerous component missing. The contractor and builder both pleaded guilty to violating the Construction Project's Regulations. The contractor was fined $90 000 and the builder was fined $80 000.
5) A young worker was killed when he fell four stories after being knocked off a roof by a skid of concrete blocks being moved by a crane. The worker had been trained in the use of fall protection equipment, but was not wearing any at the time of the incident. The construction company pleaded guilty and was fined $120 000.
These cases illustrate the need to properly protect your workers by having them trained in the new Working at Heights standard. If you had previously taken a fall arrest course and it has not expired, you have until April of 2017 to get the new training. If you do not have a valid fall arrest ticket you must take the new training before you can work at heights.