On-Site Magazine

Ontario construction firm fined for fatal fall during project at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport

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February 13, 2020 by On-Site Staff

A siding contractor based in Rockwood, Ont. has been fined $125,000 and faces 18 months probation after a worker suffered a fatal fall on a project at Toronto’s Billy Bishop Airport in early 2018.

Vixman Construction Ltd. was sentenced last month in a Toronto court following a trial.

The incident happened in March 2018 when the company was contracted to install corrugated steel sheeting over several new walkways leading from the airport terminal to the tarmac that would serve as roofs.

Using self-retracting lifelines (SRLs) attached to full-body harnesses for fall protection, two workers were the installing sheeting from a walkway about 3.5 metres above the ground. According to the Ministry of Labour, when advancing along the walkway, the first worker anchored his SRL to a vertical column before continuing to work. With the SRL block sitting on a piece of installed sheeting, the worker then moved across an open area about six metres from the block.

“His movements pulled the SRL block over the edge of the installed sheeting,” the ministry said in a release. “As it was attached to a vertical column, and not to a horizontal member, the block dropped until its mechanism engaged. This exerted a pulling force on the worker’s body and he fell from the work surface.”

The worker hit the ground before the device could catch him and sustained fatal injuries.

The court found the company had failed to meet requirements related to fall arrest systems under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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