safety article
Toronto Builder and Masonry Company Fined in Fatality Case

A worker’s fatal fall from rain-slick scaffolding in Toronto has led to $170,000 in total fines, plus $42,500 in victim fine surcharges, being levied against both a builder and a masonry contractor.

On Oct. 19, 2013, an employee of Blue River Masonry Ltd. was working with others on a residential construction project in Toronto, bricking exterior walls for homes being built by Roswell Construction Inc.

Workers were in the process of bricking a wall from the third level of a scaffold. When it began to rain, a decision was made to stop work for the day. Ladders had not been provided and one worker accessed the north scaffold to reach the west scaffold in order to retrieve tools that had been left at the third level.

While doing so, the worker fell from between the slippery scaffolding and the building, landing 6.3 meters (more than 20 feet) below. The worker suffered fatal head injuries.

An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation found that the north scaffolding from which the worker fell had numerous components missing, including:

  • entire guardrails in multiple locations on the second and third levels,
  • planks without guardrails that were being used to cross gaps between the north and west scaffold platforms,
  • various unsecured rails and cross-brace connections, and
  • scaffold planks that were of inadequate width and were not cleated or secured against slipping.

No ladders were provided by the employer to access the scaffolding and access was provided only by climbing the metal supports of the north scaffolds.

Both companies pleaded guilty to failing to meet the scaffold compliance requirements of Section 125(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation.

Blue River was fined $80,000, plus a $20,000 victim fine surcharge, while Roswell Construction was fined $90,000, plus a $22,500 victim fine surcharge.

Related content:

Read this article on the basics of scaffold safety.

An Alberta worker fell from a rolling scaffold and died. The worker’s employer was charged with several OHS violations. Read the article here.

Use this scaffolding safety guide from Newfoundland & Labrador’s Workplace Health, Safety and Compensation Commission (WHSCC) for information on the erection, care and safe operation of scaffolds in the workplace.

Here is a photograph of a makeshift scaffold that would never be safe to set foot on. Share it with your workers.


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