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Fall risks — one at 25 feet — court $18K in fines at Tri-Cities construction projects

Four firms failed to ensure safety for housing, framing and roofing employees, says WorkSafeBC.
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Construction workers looking over designs for a new home.

Several housing construction projects in the Tri-Cities exposed employees to fall risks last month, including one as high as 25 feet above the ground.

WorkSafeBC issued fines at a combined total of nearly $18,000 to four companies after discovering "repeated" and "high-risk" violations at their respective sites, which could've resulted in serious injuries for many.

The highest ticket was worth exactly $6,720.40 to Zebiak House Raising Ltd., a Burnaby-based structural moving firm that was working at a multi-building renovation site in Coquitlam at the time of the offence.

According to the provincial agency, a worker was seen climbing onto a concrete foundation wall and then onto an adjacent beam.

This created a fall risk higher than 10 feet, explains WorkSafeBC.

As well, inspectors found protruding reinforced steel bars — also known as rebar — and narrow cribbing on a safe work platform, which "failed to ensure protruding objects that created a risk of injury were removed or effectively guarded."

"In addition, the firm failed to ensure work platforms meeting regulatory requirements were provided for work at elevations, a repeated violation," WorkSafeBC adds in its statement, dated back to June 30.

Zebiak was issued the fine on June 2, and it was the highest among the four recent tickets.

Northwest Framing Ltd., a construction company based in Portland, Ore., was also slapped with a fine above $6,000 for failing to ensure fall protection was in place at another Coquitlam site.

While working on the framing of a new house, WorkSafeBC says it saw one employee leaning over the edge of a roof 12 feet from the ground.

The ticket was issued for the violation on June 14 at an exact total of $6,028.84.

Meanwhile, two steep slope roofing companies were given a $2,500 fine each after some of its employees wore fall protection harnesses, but were not connected to lifelines.

Surrey-based LMRM Construction Ltd. exposed its workers to a possible drop of 25 feet to the surface below while the company was roofing at a new three-storey house in Coquitlam.

Two workers were seen committing the WorkSafeBC violation while on a sloped roof, including one that was the firm's representative, and no other safety system was in place.

As well, the provincial agency explains LMRM had failed to provide health and safety information, instruction, training and supervision for its on-site employees, which is considered a high-risk violation.

In Port Coquitlam, inspectors saw the representative of another firm — Aeri.J Roofing Inc. (Vancouver) — disconnected from their lifelines while installing shingles on the roof of a house.

WorkSafeBC says the roof was sloped at more than 26 degrees (6:12) and while the worker was wearing their harness, no other form of fall protection was in place and resulted in a potential fall of more than 13 feet.

The companies were respectively fined in early June.