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Worker’s fatal fall results in $400,000 fine for cement company


September 23, 2019
By Ontario Ministry of Labour

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September 23, 2019 – Lafarge Canada has been fined $400,000 after pleading guilty to an offence involving a worker injury that resulted in death.

While giving a tour of a decommissioned cement plant in Zorra Township, Ontario, to contractors, a worker fell from a walkway that had corroded and could not support the worker’s weight. The worker later died in hospital.

Following a guilty plea to one count, the company was fined $400,000 in Woodstock court by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

On August 23, 2017, a worker was leading contractors on a tour of a closed plant that had ceased cement production and mining operations in 2008. The purpose of the tour was about the potential demolition of one of the decommissioned kiln buildings.

The worker took the contractors to the upper level of the kiln buildings onto an exterior walkway.

A corroded section of the walkway collapsed and the worker fell nearly 30 feet to the ground below. The worker later died from the injuries.

The walkway had corroded to the point where it was structurally unsound. It had not been braced or shored up to prevent collapse, and there were no adequate barriers, locks, or other safeguards to prevent access to the kilns or walkways.

The court found that Lafarge Canada failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in section 72 of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) were carried out at the workplace.

Section 72 of the regulation provides that where a structure is damaged to the extent that the collapse of any part of the structure is likely to occur and cause injury to a worker, the structure shall be braced and shored to prevent the collapse or effective safeguards shall be provided to prevent access to the area.

Lafarge Canada Inc. has been convicted and fined for contraventions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act in 2003, 2007, 2010 and 2017. Three of the four convictions were related to the deaths of workers.