Demolition company fined $70K in workplace death

James Curran Expert Removal & Excavating Limited failed to provide fall protection

Demolition company fined $70K in workplace death

James Curran Expert Removal & Excavating Limited, a demolition and excavating company based in Chatham, Ontario has been convicted and fined $70,000 following a tragic workplace fatality.

The incident happened in July 2021 when a worker fell from the upper level of a building that was being demolished by the company. It an old grain silo and the two-storey steel framed structure had multiple platforms at various heights, with the highest platform housing two old hoppers, pipes, and structural walls that required removal.

The worker was positioned on a platform situated approximately 7.62 meters above the ground. The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development says this platform had unguarded openings around three sides and holes in the floor. The worker was using an oxy-acetylene torch to cut structural steel components that would be rigged to a crane for lowering.

While cutting an old hopper, one half of it suddenly dropped, striking the platform. As a result, the worker fell from a ladder placed next to the hopper, over the edge of the platform, and hit the ground. It was noted that the worker was not equipped with any form of fall protection at the time of the incident.

The company failed in its duty to adequately protect the worker with a method of fall protection when exposed to a fall of more than three meters. This failure is in violation of section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The conviction and subsequent fine highlight the importance of maintaining workplace safety measures and ensuring adequate protection for workers in potentially hazardous environments.