Safety & Risk Management
$475,000 in fines handed out following worker injuries
January 2, 2023 By Don Horne
Two companies and two individuals have been fined a total of $475,000 after an elevator shaft platform collapsed during the construction of a high-rise residential building in St. Catharines, Ont.
Two workers were critically injured in the incident.
On April 16, 2021, Homestead Land Holdings Limited was the constructor of a high-rise residential tower on Towering Heights Boulevard in St. Catharines. The company had contracted Reimar Construction Corporation to perform concrete formwork.
Jose Martinho, a supervisor, had assigned two workers to move and install formwork for the inner walls of the building’s elevator shaft from the eighth to the ninth storey.
The workers, the supervisor and a crane operator, began to install and level an elevator shaft platform for the inner wall elevator formwork and for the workers to stand on while installing the formwork. The platform was supported by beams that rested in pockets formed into the concrete elevator walls. The workers had trouble aligning all the beams into their respective pockets.
The supervisor installed an additional bracket under one end of one of the support beams since the workers were having trouble with the adjusting screw and there was concern over the amount of bearing in that pocket.
No engineering approval was obtained for the installation of the bracket, and the heads of the anchors that attached the bracket to the concrete, which did not fail, were too small for the opening in the bracket.
Once the platform was installed and levelled, an approximately 5,430 kg section of formwork was placed on it and the two workers entered onto the platform.
As the workers were working, the platform collapsed at one end, causing the workers to fall and become critically injured.
Section 89(2) of the Construction Regulation requires that the formwork and falsework used in this incident, including the elevator shaft platform, be designed by an engineer in accordance with good engineering practice and be installed or erected in accordance with the design drawings.
Reimar was responsible for and did not obtain and provide site-specific drawings prepared by a professional engineer for the elevator shaft platform for the tower.
Homestead Land Holdings Limited contravened Section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as a constructor, to ensure that the measures and procedures required by Section 89(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were carried out.
Reimar Construction Corporation contravened Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures required by Section 89(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were carried out.
Jose Martinho contravened Section 27(2)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as a supervisor, to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that modifications were not made to the support system for the elevator shaft platform without the approval of a professional engineer.
Miguel Martins, director at Reimar Construction, contravened Section 32 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing, as a director, to ensure that Reimar Construction Corporation complied with the requirements of Section 89(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91.
Homestead was fined $150,000; Reimar was fined $200,000; and Martino and Martins were each fined $15,000. The court also added a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge on each fine as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total in fines to $475,000.
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