Confined Space
News and Commentary on Workplace Health & Safety, Labor and Politics

Thursday, November 02, 2006


A Month In Jail -- And No One Even Died!

OK, this is interesting, even if it happened in another far off country, north of the border.

I mean we almost never even send people to jail for willfully ignoring a safety standard that leads to the death of a worker. This guy gets jail for a bruised shin:
Seeley's Bay contractor jailed 30 days for health and safety violation

KINGSTON, ON, Oct. 25 /CNW/ - A partner of Peaks & Valleys Contracting, a roofing contractor based in Seeley's Bay, Ont., was ordered jailed for 30 days today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in injuries to a young employee.

On September 14, 2004, a worker fell from a roof about three storeys into a refuse bin on the ground below. The worker suffered a bruised shin bone. Just prior to the incident the worker had been instructed by the defendant to ascend the roof to remove old shingles so they could be replaced. The roof was about eight metres (27 feet) from the top of the eavestrough to the ground. The worker had been on the roof for about 10 minutes before falling. It was the worker's first day on the job. The incident occurred at a shingling project at row housing on Craig Lane in Kingston. K.B. Home Insulation Ltd., a Kingston-based contractor, was hired by the row housing's condominium corporation for the shingling project. K.B. Home Insulation Ltd., in turn, hired the defendant to do the work.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found the worker was not wearing a
fall harness when ascending the roof. However, as the worker lay injured in the bin, the defendant put a fall harness on the worker and told the worker to tell Ministry of Labour investigators the worker had been wearing it while on the roof. The worker did as instructed.
Of course the punishment was not just the bruised shin; it was the lie and the fact that the man could have been killed, just like two workers fall to their death every day down here, south of the border, in the United States.

But more important than the guy spending a month in jail is the message this sends out to employers across Canada. You put workers at risk, you lie to inspectors, you go to jail -- even if no one dies.

Think about it.

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