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Roofing company, food producer charged following workplace fatality

DCN-JOC News Services
Roofing company, food producer charged following workplace fatality

TORONTO — A roofing company and a food producer have been fined $300,000 after a worker was fatally injured when a concrete roof deck panel collapsed during a roof replacement project, causing the worker to fall.

Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited based in Concord, Ont. and Toronto-based Upfield Canada Inc., a producer of plant-based food products, were involved in the incident which occurred April 1, 2021 at 8-10 Craig Street in Brantford, Ont., the company’s commercial property.

The court found Upfield Canada Inc. failed, as a constructor, to protect workers from the hazard of falling through the roof, contravening section 23(1) (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited failed, as an employer, to ensure a worker was protected from the hazard of falling through the roof, contravening section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following guilty pleas by both companies in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brantford on Dec. 6, Upfield Canada Inc. was fined $125,000 and Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited was fined $175,000 by Justice Gethin Edward.

At the time of the incident, Upfield Canada Inc. was conducting extensive renovations at their commercial property including demolition and roof replacement work.

Upfield Canada Inc. contracted Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited to replace the building’s flat roof, a project that required removing the existing flat-roof system, including the pre-manufactured concrete deck and the membrane materials located on top of the deck.

To remove the membrane materials, workers used “roof cutters,” which are devices resembling large circular saws mounted to a rolling cart that the operator walks behind, states a court bulletin.

The roof membrane materials were cut into chunks and removed. The exposed concrete roof deck was then swept and cleared of remaining debris in preparation for its removal.

On April 1, 2021, a worker employed by the sheet metal company was pushing a wheelbarrow of debris towards the disposal chute when the concrete roof deck panel beneath them collapsed, causing the worker to fall and be fatally injured.

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