Saskatoon's Wintringham Roofing Ltd. has pleaded guilty to eight safety violations. For the offences, the courts have slapped the independent construction firm with more than $18,000 in fines.
Six of the charges stem from the company's failure to ensure its workers were using the correct fall protection gear. Wintringham Roofing Ltd. pleaded guilty to all six charges and was fined $8,250 with a $3,300 surcharge.
'It has always been kind of a macho, cowboy attitude when it comes to the construction business in Saskatchewan,' - Greg Wintringham
The other two charges stem from the construction company's failure to ensure that all work at a place of employment was sufficiently supervised. For these infractions the court fined the company $2,700 with a $1,080 surcharge. Both of these charges also saw the company's owner, Greg Wintringham, and employee, Al Stewart, pay individual fines totalling $2,800.
Dangerous behaviour commonplace
Wintringham said Monday the charges and fines were not a surprise to him. However, he told CBC News that what his workers have been found guilty of is commonplace in the residential construction industry.
"In Saskatoon, if you were to drive out into a construction area — or in Regina for that matter — you're going to see framers, siding guys, roofers, electricians, plumbers, all of these workers, and very rarely do you find anyone following the OHS rules and regulations," Wintringham said.
Since 2011, Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) has conducted six different investigations at Wintringham Roofing Ltd. work sites.
Joel Bender is a spokesperson with OHS. He says their investigators will recommend that charges be laid against a construction company if a failure to comply with OHS legislation has:
- contributed to a serious workplace death or injury
- posed a serious risk of injury or death
- shown a persistent or flagrant disregard for OHS legislation
"[For Wintringham Roofing Ltd.] it would have been a case of non compliance posing a serious risk of injury or death to a worker," Bender said. "Given that falls are a significant source of injury and death to workers who work in residential construction."
Wintringham told CBC News that some of his employees were in violation of OHS legislation stipulating a fall protection system must be in place for anyone working on a structure at an elevation of 3 metres or higher.
However, he said that some workers are indifferent towards the OHS safety regulations on construction sites and that makes it hard to keep everyone in check.
"It has always been kind of a macho, cowboy attitude when it comes to the construction business in Saskatchewan," Wintringham said.
"But, like I say, things have started to change, and I believe of course all of the changes are for the better."
Calvert Construction in Regina was also fined for similar safety violations last month. They pleaded guilty to two infractions and were fined $760.