Ontario Construction News staff writer
EBC Inc., a Quebec company involved in construction, mining and civil engineering was fined $125,000 for failing to protect a worker from falling through a work surface opening by ensuring a protective cover was securely fastened and adequately identified.
The company pleaded guilty in Ontario Provincial Offences Court in Ottawa.
The incident occurred Jun. 17, 2021 at an Ottawa construction site where a concrete cistern had been built. The cistern measured 30-inches in diameter and six meters deep.
When formwork for the cistern was removed, workers were exposed to a potential fall hazard, court heard. A piece of plywood about 38 inches square was placed over the opening.
“After further work was done, a worker cleaning the area picked up the plywood cover on the ground. The plywood did not have visible markings identifying it as a cover to the cistern,” the court bulletin stated. “The worker walked forward into the opening, fell to the bottom of the cistern, and sustained a critical injury.”
A co-worker who saw the incident called emergency services and a confined space rope rescue was performed.
The plywood covering the opening to the cistern was not adequately secured in place, nor was it adequately identified. The Company thereby violated section 23(1) a of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.