Employer failed to ensure measures prescribed by section 31(1) of the Regulation for Construction Projects were complied with
Ontario-based MTN Construction Inc. was fined $60,000 plus a 25 per cent surcharge after one of its workers were injured from falling from a height of 21 feet to the ground.
The surcharge, required by the Provincial Offences Act, is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The incident took place on Feb. 10, 2020 in a project to construct a high-rise condominium building at 128 King Street North, Waterloo. CTN King Inc. was developing a construction project and retained MTN Construction Inc. to provide the concrete formwork at the project.
On that day, the concrete work at the project had progressed to the third floor of the building. That morning two MTN workers were installing column formwork for the walls on the perimeter of the third floor.
The forms were made to be installed on reinforcing steel (rebar) already in place. In certain places, the rebar was bent 90 degrees at the top, requiring the formwork to be split into two L-shaped forms in order to fit around the rebar. Workers had installed between 50 and 150 similar columns, some of which were of the same L-shaped type. The forms were lifted into place by a tower crane.
One worker directed the crane operator to lower the first L-shaped form, where it was affixed around the rebar. One side of the form was on the exterior south side of the floor, and the other was on the interior east side. The worker installed one shoring post (a type of scaffolding) on an angle to support the interior side of the form. Although it was the normal practice to also brace the exterior side, in this instance no shoring or bracing was installed to support the exterior side.
The worker tied fall protection equipment on to the first L-shaped formwork once it was in place. The crane then moved the second L-shaped formwork section to the third floor. At some point, the centre of gravity of the first formwork section shifted south, away from the building, and the approximately-550-pound formwork fell over the edge of the building, pulling the worker who was tied to it to the ground.
The worker sustained serious injuries after falling approximately 21 feet to the ground.
Based on an investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, while MTN had a written formwork procedure, workers had not been specifically trained on this written procedure and were not aware there was a specific written procedure, although they were aware that bracing was required.
Also, the procedure did not contain any specific procedure for bracing formwork. In particular, while it was MTN's usual practice to install a shoring post to brace a form in one direction and a 2”x4” piece of lumber to brace the other direction, there was no specific procedure requiring this to be done. Also, the formwork engineering drawings did not include any information on how forms should be braced.
“All workers had working at heights training, but had not been given site-specific training, and had not been trained on where and how to properly tie off their fall protection equipment on this job site. MTN had a site tie-off procedure, but none of the workers had been trained on it prior to the incident. Fall protection equipment was made available to workers, but it was left to the workers to decide which type of fall arrest equipment was appropriate for any given circumstance,” according to the Ontario government.
MTN Construction Inc. failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by Section 31(1) of the Regulation for Construction Projects, which prescribes that “every part of a project, including a temporary structure...shall be adequately braced to prevent any movement that may affect its stability or cause its failure or collapse.”
This is in violation of Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which states that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the act and its regulations are complied with.