GRC Contracting / 1381694 Ontario Inc. fined $90,000 In death of worker

PARRY SOUND: 1381694 Ontario Inc., carrying on business as GRC Contracting of Hawkestone, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $90,000 for the death of a worker who fell through a roof.

The company was contracted to perform work on the roof of a mill building which is part of a graphite mine near Kearney being refurbished to re-start mining operations. Workers were employed by GRC Contracting to remove turbine ventilation and apply insulation and sheathing to cover the holes from the turbines.

On June 21, 2013, two turbines had been removed from the roof and insulation had been applied to the open holes. The holes were not surrounded by a guardrail nor were they at the time covered. The crew was in the process of moving metal sheathing to cover the holes. Before that was done, one of the workers stepped onto and through the insulation on one of the holes and fell 42 feet to the floor of the building. The worker was killed by the resulting massive trauma.

The worker was wearing a fall arrest body harness but was not attached to any system of fall arrest or travel restraint, nor were the other workers at the time.

As well, roofing materials had been piled at the edge of the north side and within 3-1/2 feet of the east edge of the roof, contrary to the law. The roof was not surrounded by a guard rail; this created an additional fall hazard for workers retrieving the materials for application to the roof.

Three days prior to the incident, GRC had been warned by the constructor about ensuring fall arrest was worn by workers after three GRC workers had been observed by an employee of the constructor working on the roof without fall protection.

Section 26.1(2) of Ontario’s Construction Projects Regulation states that workers shall be adequately protected by a guardrail system. If it is not reasonably possible to install a guardrail system as that subsection requires, workers shall be adequately protected by a travel restraint system, a fall restricting system, a fall arrest system or a safety net.

GRC Contracting pleaded guilty in court to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out at the project. The company was fined $90,000 by Justice of Peace Patricia D. Tennant in Parry Sound court.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed 25-per-cent victim fine surcharges as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.