Working at Heights ~ Training vs Charges

Installing grain bins leads to a company pleading guilty in a provincial court after one of its workers fell and suffered critical injuries on a job site. The company, is in the business of manufacturing and installing grain bin systems and accessories.

On October 9, 2015 the company was engaged in an alteration project to an industrial farming operation located in Newbury, Ontario. This involved the addition of new grain storage and handling equipment as well as the renovation of existing equipment. A worker employed by the company was working atop an existing 30-foot-high grain bin. The worker was wearing a fall protection harness attached by lanyard to a newly-installed cushion box (a metal box used like a funnel to slow the movement of grain) at the peak of the grain bin. The cushion box weighed between 100 and 200 pounds and had not yet been welded in place.

The worker was connecting a metal pipe running from a nearby structure to the cushion box. As the pipe was being put into position to be attached to the cushion box, it made contact with the cushion box and dislodged it. The box slid down the roof of the grain bin and fell over the side, dragging the worker along with it. The worker fell about 30 feet to the ground and sustained several injuries, including a fracture.

The Ministry of Labour says; when a worker is exposed to a fall hazard as described in Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation), the regulation requires that a fall arrest system be attached to an independent fixed support capable of withstanding 6 kilonewtons of static force. The fixed support used for the worker’s fall protection did not meet that requirement. As an approved provider for working at heights training, the company is familiar with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and in its role as a training provider, responsible for ensuring that others know how to comply with these requirements.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker had a suitable anchor to tie to, and was fined $50,000. In Addition to the fine, the court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

The Working at Heights training is mandatory for all workers come April 1, 2017.  Contact our office to schedule your class at 905-661- SAFE(7233)