Ontario: Construction Firm Fined $50,000 for Safety Violation

Wabi Development Corp., a general construction and maintenance company based in New Liskeard, Ontario, has been fined $50,000 for a violation of the province's Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in injuries to an employee.

On Feb. 19, 2002, a worker was inside a screener equipment used to separate larger wood chips from smaller particles of wood and was helping check for defects when the worker fell about 7.6 meters (22 feet) down a vertical shaft, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

The worker landed at the bottom of the shaft on a rake conveyor belt a conveyor belt that uses rake-like equipment to move particles from one location to another and suffered leg and ankle injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation determined the worker was not wearing any fall arrest equipment.

The incident occurred at an Oriented Strand Board (OSB) plant operated by Grant Forest Products Inc. in the town of Englehart, which is midway between Timmins and North Bay. Grant Forest Products Inc. had hired Wabi Development to inspect and maintain equipment at the plant.

Following a trial, Wabi Development was found guilty of failing to ensure a worker, who was exposed to a hazard of falling more than 3 meters, wore adequate fall arrest protection. This violated Section 25(1)(c) of the act.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Gilles Lecouteur of the Ontario Court of Justice in North Bay. In addition, the court imposed a 25 percent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

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