Two Saskatchewan employers fined for fall protection violations

Two Saskatchewan employers have pleaded guilty to charges under the province's Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) regulations and been fined a combined total of $6,460, according to Saskatchewan's Labour Relations and Workplace Safety Ministry.

Tanya Neufeld of Swift Current, carrying on business as The Neu Character Builder, pleaded guilty to one charge of failure to ensure that workers use a fall protection system where a worker may fall three metres or more, and was ordered to pay a total fine of $4,900. An additional charge of violating OHS regulations was stayed in court.

Neufeld was charged this spring, after a worker was injured when he fell from the trusses of a building at a construction site in Swift Current in the summer of 2009.

In the other case, Thomas Kowalchuk of Yorkton, operating as K & K Construction and Carpentry, pleaded guilty to three charges under OHS regulations in connection with a routine inspection of a residential construction site in Yorkton in November, 2008. Occupational Health Officers observed several workers installing shingles on the roof of a house without fall protection or protective headwear.

Kowalchuk was fined $1,560. Two other charges against him were stayed in court.

OHS has zero-tolerance for any failure to comply with fall protection and recommends prosecution whenever this is observed.

In the 2010/11 period, there have already been 20 convictions for non-compliance of OHS regulations related to protecting workers from falls, and a total of $41,600 in fines and surcharges levied.