TORONTO — A Bolton, Ont. construction firm has been fined $50,000 for its role in a 2017 Toronto renovation mishap in which a steel structure assembly collapsed, injuring a worker who was doing work in a vacant building.
Rafat General Contracting Inc. was convicted of an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act in February of 2020 but sentencing was delayed until Jan. 11 due to the pandemic.
Rafat is a company that provides excavation, demolition and other services to the construction industry. The worksite was a multi-storey building at 720-728 Yonge St. in Toronto that was being renovated.
A Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development report recounts Rafat was hired to perform work to demolish and dismantle parts of the interior of the building under renovation from the third floor down to the basement, and to remove all debris.
On March 2, 2017, as work was being done in the basement, a horizontal steel beam was in place on what was the ceiling of the basement floor supporting part of the first floor.
The supervisor of the company noticed the west end of the steel beam was resting on a steel plate on top of the steel column but was not connected. The east end of the beam, however, was connected by bolts to another steel column.
The supervisor used the bucket of a mini excavator belonging to the company to push the west end of the steel beam and move it off the steel plate, and then lowered the west end of the beam to the concrete floor below.
The east end of the horizontal beam remained connected to its vertical steel column, which remained in an upright position.
Shortly thereafter, the steel assembly collapsed, striking the worker and pinning the worker under the collapsed structure.
The injured worker sustained serious injuries.
Section 31(1)(b) of the Construction Projects Regulation, Regulation 213/91, states that “every part of a project, including a temporary structure, shall be adequately braced to prevent any movement that may affect stability or cause its failure or collapse.”
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, employers are required to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the legislation are carried out.