DCN ARCHIVES

March 30, 2005

Accident results in hefty fines

A company and supervisor were fined last week in connection with an accident more than a year ago that resulted in serious injuries to a worker’s hand and foot.

Lakeshore Village Development Corporation, a property holdings company in Toronto, was fined $70,000 and the supervisor was fined $3,500 for one violation each of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA)

Court heard that on Aug. 6, 2003, a worker was installing a guardrail at the top of metal, tubular-frame scaffolding at a townhouse construction site owned by Lakeshore when a 2.29-metre (7 1/2-foot) piece of rail came in contact with an overhead, 16,000-volt, energized electrical conductor.

The worker suffered electrical burns to the foot and hand.

At the time of the incident electrical lines ran near and through the scaffolding and the electrical conductor was about 1.2 to 1.8 metres (four to six feet) over the worker’s head.

The scaffolding had been erected by a subcontractor a few days before the incident in preparation for installation of exterior brick work.

The injured worker was employed by the subcontractor.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour determined a site supervisor, who worked for a related company that had undertaken construction of the project for Lakeshore, was given information regarding the nearness of workers to the power lines, and determined that a protective covering had to be installed.

The supervisor left a message with the wrong company to attend the site and cover the lines. The company did not attend the site and the supervisor failed to follow up on the message. The supervisor also did not check the scaffolding and power lines while at the site.

The incident occurred at 9th Street and Lakeshore Boulevard West in Etobicoke.

Lakeshore pleaded guilty, as a constructor, to failing to ensure that scaffolding and/or materials capable of conducting electricity were not stored or used so close to an energized conductor that they could make electrical contact with an energized conductor, as required by Section 194 of the Regulations for Construction Projects. This was contrary to Section 23 (1) (a) of the OHSA.

The supervisor pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring the energized conductor near the work area was equipped with a protective line covering. This was contrary to Section 27 (2) (c) of the OHSA.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Teresa Jewitt of the Ontario Court of Justice at Old City Hall in Toronto. In addition to the fines, the court 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.

— Grant Cameron

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