Workers Health & Safety Centre

Roofing company owner jailed for working at heights-related violations

Roofing company owner jailed for working at heights-related violations
The owner of a London-area roofing company was recently sentenced to three days in jail for attempting to deceive Ministry of Labour (MOL) investigators.  
On August 17, 2015, the owner and two workers employed by AB Clothier Roofing were performing work at a two-storey home in Bayfield, Ontario. One of the workers suffered injuries after falling 18 feet from the roof. None of the workers were wearing fall protection equipment as required by law. 
Immediately following the incident, the owner directed a worker to place fall protection equipment on the roof in order to deceive MOL inspectors.
At trial, the company and its owner pleaded guilty to failing to provide adequate fall protection as required by section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) and section 26 of the Regulation for Construction Projects. The owner was fined $5,000 for this conviction. A guilty plea on the second charge relating to the owners' attempt to hinder, obstruct, molest or interfere with an inspector in the exercise of a power or performance of a duty led to a three day jail sentence [s. 62(1)].  
This sentencing was imposed on November 3, 2016 in a Goderich, Ontario court.
This is not the first case resulting in a jail sentence relating to an incident where a worker lacked fall protection equipment and the owner of the company attempted to deceive an MOL inspector. Back in November, 2013, the owner of a roofing company pleaded guilty to failing as a supervisor to ensure that fall protection measures were followed as required and to knowingly furnish an inspector with false information. The worker was killed as a result of the fall. The owner/supervisor was sentenced to 15 days in jail.   
Beyond the need to provide adequate fall protection as mentioned above, a new law took effect on April 1, 2015 requiring employers to ensure untrained or inadequately trained construction workers complete a MOL-approved working at heights training program before they start work at heights and use fall protection equipment.
Employers were given a transition period for workers who, prior to April 1, 2015, met the fall protection training requirements set out in subsection 26.2(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation. By April 1, 2017 however, employers must ensure even these workers complete an MOL-approved working at heights training program.
The WHSC was one of the first organizations to gain MOL approval to deliver working at heights training.
Need Working at Heights training? Register today for WHSC scheduled community-based training. 
Need more info about bringing training to your work site or facility? Call 1-888-869-7950 and ask to speak to a WHSC training services representative.
Need more information still? Be sure to check out our online working at heights information resources.
Want to know more about the November 3, 2016 court case from the MOL?