April 13, 2024


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Leamington companies fined $170K for worker’s fatal greenhouse fall

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Two companies — an employment agency and a greenhouse building firm — have been fined more than $170,000 following the death of a construction worker last year.

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Ontario’s Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training, and Skills Development disclosed the penalty on Monday.

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FHES Ontario Ltd. must pay $70,000, while Lebo Farms Ltd. must pay $100,000. Both companies are based in Leamington.

Along with the fines, the two employers must pay 25-per cent victim fine surcharges to a special provincial fund that assists victims of crime.

The employers pleaded guilty to the offence of failing to ensure that measures and procedures prescribed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act were carried out in the workplace.

The deadly incident occurred on Jan. 10, 2022. Workers employed by FHES Ontario Ltd. were installing vent glass and weather strips on the roof of a greenhouse being built by Lebo Farms Ltd.

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The construction site was at 429 Mersea Rd. 8 in the community of Staples in Essex County.

According to the ministry, one worker, age 27, was standing on an aluminum trolley platform known as a “glazing cart trolley” while installing the weather strips.

This trolley had no guardrails. A harness connected to the platform was required as a fall protection method, the ministry noted.

During the course of the installation, the worker lost balance and fell from the platform — going through a glass panel and dropping 25 feet to the ground.

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The worker’s injuries were fatal.

An investigation found that the worker had been trained on working at heights and fall arrest equipment — and was wearing a harness at the time of the incident.

However, the lanyard of the harness was not connected to the platform.

The ministry ruled that FHES Ltd. “did not ensure that the worker had received appropriate information and supervision in the use of the installation platform/glazing trolley cart.”

Lebo Farms Ltd., as the builder with overall on-site safety responsibilities, “did not ensure that the worker was wearing appropriate fall arrest protection while on the roof,” the ministry stated.

The case was heard in Ontario Court of Justice in Windsor.

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