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Constructor convicted in falling death of worker at Bishop Airport

DCN-JOC News Services
Constructor convicted in falling death of worker at Bishop Airport

TORONTO — Vixman Construction of Rockwood, Ont. has been convicted and fined $125,000 for its role in the death of an employee who fell while working at Billy Bishop Airport in Toronto in 2018.

A Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development report stated that Vixman was contracted to install corrugated steel sheeting to form a roof over several new walkways at the airport from the gates onto the tarmac. On March 27, 2018 two workers were working on a walkway and using self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) for fall protection, attached to full body harnesses. All the fall protection equipment was appropriate for the tasks involved and functioning properly, the ministry report stated.

The two workers were working close to each other and advancing along the walkway attaching the steel roof sheeting. They were moving the anchorage of their SRLs as they advanced.

The first worker, with his supervisor standing beside him, anchored his SRL by choking a cable around an upright column supporting the roof structure. The worker was approximately 3.5 metres above the ground. The SRL block was lying on the already installed roof sheeting. He extended his lifeline approximately six metres from the anchored SRL block, across an open area.

The worker was working with his back to the SRL block when his movements pulled the SRL block over the edge of the installed sheeting. As it was attached to a vertical column, and not to a horizontal structure, the block dropped until its mechanism engaged. This exerted a pulling force on the worker’s body, and he fell from the work surface. As he was working at a distance farther away from the SRL block than the distance of the height of the work surface, he hit the ground, and suffered fatal injuries.

A justice of the peace in Toronto provincial offences court found that the SRL had not been attached to a fixed support, and that the length of the extended lifeline, over an open area, was not a safe configuration of the fall protection equipment.

Vixman was convicted Jan. 16 for failing as employer to ensure measures and procedures prescribed in section 26.6 (2) and 26.6(3) of O. Reg. 213/91 were carried out, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Besides the fine, Vixman was put on 18 months’ probation and required to pay a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge.

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