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Largest Workplace Safety Fine in Manitoba History Under New Crown Attorney

Largest Workplace Safety Fine in Manitoba History Under New Crown Attorney

April 2014. On the heels of Canada’s National Day of Mourning commemorating workers killed and injured on the job, Lafarge Canada was fined over $180,000 for the avoidable death of a 66 year old man that was set to retire in just 13 days. The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the safety of workers.

Allan Leschyshyn along with three other workers were hired by LaFarge through a contractor O'Connell-Neilson EBC, for the short term job of dismantling large Quonset structures used in the production of cement at the Wuskwatim generating station near Thompson in April of 2011. The worker was killed instantly when he was struck by a large metal rod.

According to reports, Manitoba’s new Crown Attorney Tim Chudy stated that a loader was dismantling a large tent panel when the fabric ripped and a 10-foot metal rod was sent hurtling toward Leschyshyn, striking him in the head.

Lafarge failed to ensure that hazards were identified, communicated and controlled. In addition, they failed to ensure that contracted workers had written safe work procedures for the dismantling of the Quonset.

The fine is the largest of its kind imposed in Manitoba since Hudson Bay Mining and Smelting was fined $150,000 for an August 2000 explosion in Flin Flon that killed Steven Ryan Ewing and injured 13 others.

Key Lessons to Learn so that This Workplace Death is not in Vain

1. Safe Work Procedures should be developed and trained for the greater good of your workers and your company NOT because “it’s the law”.life choices border

2. Most deaths and serious incidents result from failure to identify, communicate and control hazards. Meaningful hazard assessments are for you and your people, NOT because “it’s the law”.

3. Prime Contractors must ensure that sub-contractors ensure that work will be performed in compliance with the WSH Act and Regulations. Just because subs are “COR Certified” DOES NOT mean they are in compliance. Contractors (those who hire contracted and self-employed workers and direct their work) must ensure that workers are not exposed to unnecessary risk that is within the control of the contractor.

Tools to Help You

1. Duties of Prime Contractors Hazard Alert: Download and share with your workers as a Safety Talk. (compliments of mySafetyAssistant.ca)Untitled

2. Prime Contractor Essentials On-Line Training Complimentary Trial – many “non-construction” organizations are a Prime Contractor from time to time and don’t know it. Take this On-Line training program specific to the requirements of MB WSH Legislation for FREE. (one trial per company compliments of mySafetyTraining.ca) http://mysafetytraining.ca/online-training-courses/

3. myContractorManager 30 Day Free Trial – a user friendly web based Wizard, that makes evaluating sub-contractors quick and easy

4. 60 Minute Consultation with a Senior Safety Professional – do you have questions about the safety of your workers and your business? Contact us to schedule a no obligation consult with a senior safety professional.

20 Consults Available per month – Only 4 remaining for May

204-231-5433 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Real Estate Project Management Firm Fined $100,000 for Death of Sub-Contractor’s Worker

Four workers employed by Immaculate Scrap Metal Disposal of Brampton, Ontario were demolishing a 26 foot interior concrete block wall at a furniture wholesaler. The wall collapsed on two workers; one of the workers was fatally injured and died as a result of multiple traumas. The other worker suffered severe injuries to the back, chest and pelvis. Two other workers were present but not injured. Immaculate Scrap Metal Disposal was sub contracted to (aka hired by) English Prestige Builders.

Risk Management

A Ministry of Labour investigation concluded that the wall collapsed due to an inadequate demolition procedure. English Prestige Builders pleaded guilty to two counts of failing as a constructor to ensure that the health and safety of workers on the site was protected.

The duty imposed on English Prestige Builders mirrors that of the duties of Prime Contractors in Manitoba.

Duties of Prime Contractors in Manitoba include:

  • - Set up a system to ensure every person involved in the construction project meets their legal safety and health obligations.
  • - Co-ordinate, organize and oversee the performance of all work at the construction project site.
  • - Provide relevant information that is known or reasonably ought to be known to the owner of the construction project site and every sub-contractor involved in work on the project.
  • - Conduct regular inspections of work processes and procedures.
  • - Ensure corrective action is taken and communicated to all affected persons when safety and health risks are identified.
  • - Enforce safe work practices with sub-contractors, visitors and any other person who may visit the worksite.

Would you like to simplify subcontractor evaluation? Request a free trail of myContractorManager.ca

Are you a Prime Contractor and don’t know it? Do you know your responsibilities as a Prime Contractor?

Contact 1Life Workplace Safety and Health for a Free, No Obligation Consultation @ 204-231-LIFE (5433)!

Do you know someone who could use our help? Learn about our Referral Rewards program!

Province Announces New Position on COR Requirement

The Province recently announced that it will not follow through on its own policy, requiring all contractors and subcontractors to be COR™ or SECOR™ certified when bidding work on provincially funded projects.

Evidence of contractors’ compliance to workplace safety was to be required through participation in the COR™ program, requiring all bidders to be COR™ certified by January 1, 2014 regardless of the size of the project or value of the contract COR™ requirements remain for projects over $100,000 (as the policy currently stands) and will not change January 1, 2014 as previously announce.  Read more at: https://www.winnipegconstruction.ca/Communications/October_23_2013_SpecialReport.html

Safety Profit Principle: In an environment of keen competition and low profit margins, learning from incidents and implementing corrective action can contribute more to your  profits than your organization’s best the Safety Profit Programsalesperson. Minimizing loss is as much an improvement as maximization of profit.

Whether you HAVE to get COR or not should be irrelevant. Well managed companies create systems to control all avoidable loss. If you are a business with credible risk, then a good safety management system is a must to protect both your profits and your important relationships (AKA your people!)


Don’t get caught with your head in the sand… find out your Safety Profit Score™ today.

CLICK here to get started or contact us as 204-231-5433.

2013 Workplace Safety and Health Precedents and Local Manitoba Enforcement

Happy New Year! It’s been a while since we have focused on the heavy handed side of Workplace Safety and Health compliance. As always our goal is prevention. We hope that this knowledge and experience can be shared to prevent serious incidents and avoidable loss to your people and your business.

2013 saw some startling precedents that all employers should take notice of:

September 2013, Vale Canada was fined over $1,000,000.00, the largest fine ever in Ontario enforcementhistory for the deaths of two workers. In June 2008 the two workers were transferring muck (broken rock and ore) using a remote control pendant to operate a gate. Although there was a protected area for workers at that location, in order to view the movement of muck and use the remote pendant, the two workers had to position themselves such that they were in front of and fully exposed to the transfer gate. Both workers died from massive crush injuries when there was a sudden and uncontrolled release of muck, sand, and water. A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there had been a hang-up of wet muck in the ore pass. The wet muck was a result of Vale not dealing with water issues in the mine.

In November 2013, Vale Canada in Thompson, Manitoba was charged on 10 counts for the fatality of a worker. A spokesperson with the province said penalties could include a fine of up to $250,000 per charge for a total not exceeding $2,500,000. In addition, a term of imprisonment not exceeding six months could be ordered.

2013 also saw Metron Construction fined $750,000 for the actions of a dead supervisor. In September 2013, Metron Construction was convicted under the Criminal Code (aka Bill C-45) and fined $750,000. On Christmas Eve in 2009, three workers and a site supervisor in Toronto plunged to their deaths. Near the end of the working day, five workers and the supervisor boarded a swing stage to travel from the 14th floor of an apartment block to the ground. There were only two safety harnesses with a lanyard attached to serve as fall protection equipment. With the combined weight of the workers and the equipment, the swing stage collapsed. Three workers and the supervisor, none of whom were secured by a lifeline, fell to their deaths. (Download our newsletter to read more about these prosecutions)

Local Manitoba Prosecutions and Administrative Penalties in 2013 included 260 STOP WORK ORDERS issued in a 6 month period (that’s an average for 28 a month!), 17 Administrative penalties ranging from $1000 - $5000 and several “COR Certified” companies being prosecuted.

To read more including what the stop work orders and administrative penalties were for and tips from our senior safety professionals about how to avoid Stop Work Orders in your workplace, download our January 2014 Newsletter.

Subscribe to our newsletter here!

What You Don't Know About WCB Can Hurt You

Today I,m sharing 3 Top WCB Tips to help you ensure the control of avoidable loss to your business.

1. EMPLOYEES WORKING ON PERSONAL PROJECTS IN YOUR WORKPLACE. Do you ever allow employees to work in your facilities on personal projects on their own time? If so these employees will not likely be covered by the employers WCB Insurance in the event of an incident in the course of performing work on a personal project.

If the employers’ WCB insurance does not apply then the potential consequences to the employer include the risk of the employee or their family suing for damages.

2. EMPLOYING CONTRACTED WORKERS. Did you know that it is the employers responsibility to ensure contracted workers and their employees are covered by workers compensation? If not, WCB coverage may become the employers’ responsibility. A recent example is a Winnipeg company whose contracted installer fell from a ladder and suffered a serious back injury. Because the contracted worker did not have WCB Insurance, the business owner became liable for the WCB insurance and will bear the cost burden.

3. WCB RATES ARE EFFECTED BY THE FREQUENCY AND DURATION OF CLAIMS. Rather than accepting a vague doctor’s note stating that an employee must be off work for a specified period of time, the employer has the right to request a doctors note that describes the tasks that the employee can and cannot DO. This may allow for an expedited return to work, improved morale for the employee and reduced WCB costs to the employer.


1. Establish clear policies and procedures for employees working on personal projects on company property.

2. Ensure that contracted and self employed workers are evaluated prior to starting work to ensure that they are registered with WCB and are in good standing. Check on your contractors athttp://www.wcb.mb.ca/clearances

3. Establish a formal Return to Work Program to ensure WCB claims are effectively managed to ensure injured workers are returned to work in a fair but expeditious manner. Both employees and your bottom line will benefit.  Contact me for a FREE 60 minute consultation on how you can protect your WCB related risks.

Theo is a powerful communicator, making complex subjects understandable.

Chris Mussell
Production Manager, Paramount Windows