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Sault contractor fined following 2020 worker injury

R.F. Contracting fined $60,000 after worker fell 28 feet inside furnace

A Sault Ste. Marie contractor has been fined after a worker suffered a serious injury while cleaning an industrial furnace in 2020.

R.F. Contracting was ordered on Jan. 24, 2023 to pay a fine of $60,000 after pleading guilty to a contravention of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act following the incident.

The company provides work in mechanical, piping, ironworking, and millwrighting, serving the steel manufacturing, energy and forestry sectors.

On April 21, 2020, four workers were cleaning out an industrial biomass furnace when one of the workers stepped inside the furnace.

The worker was wearing a fall protection harness and tether; however, they were not anchored, and the worker fell approximately 28 feet inside the furnace, sustaining serious injuries.

This was found to be in contravention of section 85(a) of Regulation 851, R.R.O. 1990, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which states that “Where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is more than three metres below the position where he or she is situated, (a) the worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline that is adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 metres.”

Justice of the Peace Kyle Cachagee presided over the case, with Wes Wilson serving as Crown counsel.

In addition to the $60,000 fine, a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge was imposed, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. It is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.