On April 3, 2018, a precedent setting conviction has come down from the Toronto South court after the defendant [Santoro Construction Ltd.] plead guilty to failing to provide a worker with the equipment appropriate for situations where work cannot be done on or from the ground without hazard to workers.
The worker, who is employed by a contracted company called GMJ Electric, was working from a 10 ft step ladder and was working on the top of the third rung while reaching into an area above the grid of a drop ceiling. The worker fell from the ladder to the ground and suffered critical injuries.
From recent experience, the Ministry of Labour is wanting to limit the rate of work being done from step ladders, where work cannot be done on or from the ground without hazard to workers [O. Reg. 125(1)]. In addition to this, O. Reg. 125(1) requires constructors to instead provide a worker with a scaffold, a suspended work platform, a boatswain’s chair or a multi-point suspended work platform in situations where work cannot be done on or from the ground without hazard to workers.
The paramount takeaway from this is that unless the work being done absolutely necessitates a step ladder’s use, employers can expect inspectors to start issuing orders consistently aimed at reducing or eliminating the use of step ladders on projects.
Given this recent conviction and penalty, this piece of jurisprudence is likely the last piece of ammunition MOL inspectors needed to enforce similar future orders and support similar future prosecutions.
For more information about this recent conviction or the upcoming GMJ Electric trial, please visit: https://news.ontario.ca/mol/en/2018/04/company-fined-90000-after-worker-suffers-critical-injuries-in-fall-from-heights.html?_ga=2.35939040.1724460081.1523378225-1474565946.1494961489