Construction firm slapped with five-figure sum for worker injury

Worker critically injured while performing daily tasks

Construction firm slapped with five-figure sum for worker injury

Ontario employer Domm Construction Ltd. has been fined $75,000 after one of its workers was critically injured while performing duties at a construction site in Ayton.

After pleading guilty in provincial offences court, the employer must also pay a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, to be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

Shawn Weltz, a supervisor at the workplace, previously pleaded guilty.

The incident happened on Oct. 29, 2020, when four workers employed by the company were working on the construction of a new barn. The workers were installing “girts” atop 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. This sudden, unexpected movement caused the worker to fall approximately 16 feet to the concrete floor of the barn and suffer a critical injury.

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

Also, 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.

Additionally, 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.

“Domm Construction Ltd. failed as an employer to take the reasonable precaution of developing and/or implementing a safe work procedure for installing girts, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the OHSA,” according to the Ontario government.

“Furthermore, Shawn Weltz failed as a supervisor to ensure that workers were protected by a method of fall protection as required by section 26.1(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, as amended, contrary to section 27(1)(a) of the OHSA.”

Previously, Ontario employer Lakeridge Developments (Muskoka) Limited was fined $50,000 for an incident that left one worker critically injured. A supervisor at the firm, Paul Kritski, was also fined $15,000 for the same incident.

Previously, Coast Roofing Ltd., Dogtooth Log and Timber Ltd., Big Guns Roofing Ltd., Rai Star Custom Homes Ltd., Lalli Development (2011) Ltd., 0568677 British Columbia Ltd., Kalan Constructions Ltd. and Rainbow Siding Ltd. were also fined for fall protection violations in the workplace.

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