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Elmira firm fined $50,000 for lack of fall protection

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by DCN News Services

LONDON, ONT. — An Elmira, Ont. company recently pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000 after one of its workers fell and suffered critical injuries on a job site.
Elmira firm fined $50,000 for lack of fall protection

The company, Earl Horst Systems Ltd., is in the business of manufacturing and installing grain bin systems and accessories.

A Ministry of Labour media release noted that on Oct. 9, 2015 the company was working on an alteration project on an industrial farm located on Haggerty Drive in Newbury, Ont. The build involved the addition of new grain storage and handling equipment as well as the renovation of existing equipment.

A worker employed by the company was working atop an existing 30-foot-high grain bin. The worker was wearing a fall protection harness attached by a lanyard to a newly installed cushion box (a metal box used like a funnel to slow the movement of grain) at the peak of the grain bin. The cushion box weighed between 100 and 200 pounds and had not yet been welded in place.

The worker was connecting a metal pipe running from a nearby structure to the cushion box. As the pipe was being put into position to be attached to the cushion box, it made contact with it and dislodged it. The box slid down the roof of the grain bin and fell over the side, dragging the worker along with it. The worker fell about 30 feet to the ground and sustained several injuries, including a fracture.

When a worker is exposed to a fall hazard as described in Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation), the regulation requires that a fall arrest system be attached to an independent fixed support capable of withstanding six kilonewtons of static force. The fixed support used for the worker's fall protection did not meet that requirement.

As an approved provider for working at heights training, the company is familiar with the requirements of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and in its role as a training provider, is responsible for ensuring that others know how to comply with these requirements, the Ministry release indicated.

The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker had a suitable anchor to tie to, and was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace G. Susan Stewart in London court on Dec. 19, 2016.

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