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Worker Falls from Oakville Townhouse Site, Construction Company Fined $60,000

Court Bulletin

Worker Falls from Oakville Townhouse Site, Construction Company Fined $60,000

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: MC Oakvillage GP Inc. (MCO), 180 Kent Street, Suite #200, Ottawa, Ontario, a construction company.

Location of Workplace: A townhouse project near the intersection of Dundas Street East and Trafalgar Road in Oakville, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker fell from a second-floor balcony to the ground while installing aluminum siding.

Date of Offence: February 21, 2018.

Date of Conviction: July 3, 2019.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Steven M. D'Souza in Burlington provincial court; Crown Counsel Jai Dhar.
  • 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.

Background:

  • MCO was the constructor of a project of about 200 townhouse units. 
  • On February 21, 2018, a worker was installing aluminum siding on a second-floor balcony on one of the units under construction. The balcony was 11 feet above ground level. There was a single two-inch by four-inch piece of wood (2x4) installed horizontally at the open edge of the balcony at a height of approximately four feet from the balcony floor. 
  • The worker was standing on a ladder on the balcony to install the aluminum siding on the roof of the balcony. While descending the ladder, the worker grabbed on to the wooden 2x4. It gave way and the worker lost balance, falling over the side of the balcony and landing on the ground 11 feet below. The worker suffered an injury as a result.
  • Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that the 2x4 was not nailed or otherwise securely fastened in place. Guardrails on the balcony were installed with a "compression fit" approach using a 2x4 wedged between two brick posts; this was done to avoid damaging the brick columns. There was no engineering for the design of the rails to assess what load they could support. There was no other guardrail in place to protect workers from falling.
  • Section 26.1(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) requires that workers exposed to a fall of more than 3 metres (approximately 10 feet) shall be adequately protected by guardrail system. On February 21, 2018, MC Oakvillage GP Inc. failed as a constructor to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were carried out at the project, contrary to section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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