Two companies fined $400K following collapse during concrete pour

Fabrication deficiencies and methodological errors contributed to deaths of workers

Two companies fined $400K following collapse during concrete pour

Two construction companies have been fined after pleading guilty for failing to follow safety procedures before the Ontario Court of Justice in London. iSpan Systems LP was fined $260,000 and East Elgin Concrete Forming Ltd. was fined $140,000.

In December 2020, a segment of a building under construction collapsed during a concrete pour on the fourth floor, leading to the tragic death of two workers and severe injuries to four others.

Flawed procedures that led to an accident

iSpan Systems LP was responsible for fabricating the building’s structural steel frame, crucial for supporting concrete forms, while East Elgin Concrete Forming Ltd. was responsible for the concrete pour, retaining supervisory duties while subcontracting the roof pour to another company.

An investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development (MLITSD) found deficiencies in iSpan’s fabrication and methodological errors in East Elgin’s procedures. The oversights contributed to the collapse.

According to a press release, East Elgin employed a laser level and directed the subcontractor to pour to the height of the laser level, which failed to account for the deflection of the steel frame that occurred from the weight of the concrete. This could have been remedied by using a dipstick to provide a true reading of concrete depth during the deflection process.

This resulted in workers being left with the incorrect assumption that the concrete depth was sufficient at certain locations in the pour. More concrete was applied than had been specified by iSpan. MLITSD engineers who carried out an analysis found that the concrete poured exceeded the design values by significant amounts. The weight of the applied concrete then contributed to the collapse and/or its severity.

Further, it was found an iSpan employee had altered specifications, opting for a thinner and shorter 16-gauge shallow track instead of the specified 14-gauge deep track for the stud pack as specified in iSpan’s approved engineering drawings. This alteration, along with misplaced welds, significantly weakened the structure. iSpan’s quality control department failed to identify these critical errors, indicating severe lapses in oversight.

iSpan failed to ensure the structure’s capability to support anticipated loads in line with good engineering practices per the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Similarly, East Elgin Concrete Forming Ltd. failed in providing necessary guidance and supervision to protect the health and safety of a worker, the news release said.

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