Workers Health & Safety Centre

Ignoring working at height obligations lands employer in jail

An Ontario employer has been sentenced to one day in jail and fined $10,000 for failure to ensure a worker has adequate fall protection. 
A Ministry of Labour inspector attended a residence in Belleville on October 7, 2015 and observed a roofer working at a height above three metres without fall protection. By law, the employer should have ensured the use of a travel restraint system, fall-restricting system, fall arrest system or safety net.

Repeat offender

This same employer had prior convictions for the same offense in 2013 and 2015. All three charges related to violations of section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (the Act) and section 26(1)(2) of the Construction Projects Regulations (O. Reg. 213/91).
Fortunately no workers fell or were injured. Still, the risk is significant for those who work at heights. In fact, falls from heights is the leading cause of traumatic deaths in the construction sector.
In addition to the fine and jail sentence, 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.

Mandatory work at height training

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 original fall protection training requirements set out in subsection 26.2(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation. By October 1, 2017 however, employers must ensure even these workers complete an MOL-approved working at heights training program.
For those who have yet to comply, workers must be enrolled in a MOL-approved training program scheduled prior to October 1, 2017 compliance deadline. Employers must have written proof of enrollment, which must be made available to a Ministry inspector upon request. Further, the proof of enrollment must include the name of the worker, the name of the approved training provider, the date on which the approved training is scheduled to be complete, and the name of the approved training program.

WHSC Working at Heights training

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 read the MOL media release about the sentencing for this working at heights violation?