Upfield Canada Inc., a producer of plant-based food products based in Toronto, and Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited, an industrial roofing company out of Concord, have been fined $300,000 in total following a 2021 workplace fatality in Brantford.
During a roof replacement project on Craig Street in Brantford, a worker was fatally injured when a concrete roof deck panel collapsed, causing the worker to fall.
“Upfield Canada Inc. failed, as a constructor, to protect workers from the hazard of falling through the roof, contravening section 23(1) (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.,” the description of the offence read. “Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited. failed, as an employer, to ensure a worker was protected from the hazard of falling through the roof, contravening section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.”
Following guilty pleas by both companies in the Ontario Court of Justice in Brantford, Upfield Canada Inc. was fined $125,000, and Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited was fined $175,000 by Justice Gethin B. Edward; Crown Counsel Marco Galluzzo and Tyler Fram. The companies were each convicted on December 6, 2022.
The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
At the time of the incident, Upfield Canada Inc. was conducting extensive renovations at their commercial property at 8-10 Craig Street in Brantford, Ontario, including demolition and roof replacement work. Upfield Canada Inc. contracted Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited, an industrial roofing company, to replace the building’s flat roof.
The roof replacement project required removing the existing flat-roof system, including the pre-manufactured concrete deck and the membrane materials located on top of the deck. To remove the membrane materials, workers used “roof cutters,” which are devices resembling large circular saws mounted to a rolling cart that the operator walks behind. The roof membrane materials were cut into chunks and removed. Then the exposed concrete roof deck was swept and cleared of remaining debris in preparation for its removal.
On April 1, 2021, a worker, employed by Provincial Industrial Roofing and Sheet Metal Company Limited was pushing a wheelbarrow of debris towards the disposal chute when the concrete roof deck panel beneath them collapsed, causing the worker to fall and be fatally injured.