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Ottawa firm convicted for role in Oakville townhouse fall mishap

DCN News Services
Ottawa firm convicted for role in Oakville townhouse fall mishap

BURLINGTON, ONT. — An Ottawa construction firm has been convicted and fined for its role in a 2018 incident in which a worker fell from two storeys at an Oakville, Ont. jobsite and was injured.

MC Oakvillage GP Inc. (MCO) was the constructor of a townhouse project of about 200 units near the intersection of Dundas Street East and Trafalgar Road in Oakville on Feb. 21, 2018 when the mishap occurred, stated a Ministry of Labour release.

The worker was installing aluminum siding on a second-floor balcony on one of the units. The balcony was 11 feet above ground level. There was a single two-by-four piece of wood 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 siding on the roof of the balcony. While descending the ladder, the worker grabbed on to the two-by-four. It gave way and the worker lost balance, falling over the side of the balcony and landing on the ground 11 feet below. Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that the two-by-four was not nailed or otherwise securely fastened in place.

Guardrails on the balcony were installed with a “compression fit” approach using a two-by-four 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 213/9, the Construction Projects Regulation,D requires that workers exposed to a fall of more than three metres be adequately protected by a guardrail system. A justice of the peace in Burlington provincial court determined that MCO 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.

Following a guilty plea and conviction on July 3, the company was fined $60,000 and also ordered to pay a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge.

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