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Worker paralyzed by fall in cooling tower

Whitby, ON -- International Cooling Tower Inc. was recently fined $150,000 for a safety violation, the Ontario Mini...


Whitby, ON — International Cooling Tower Inc. was recently fined $150,000 for a safety violation, the Ontario Ministry of Labour reports.

In July 2005, an apprentice carpenter working on a work platform inside a cooling tower in Whitby, ON, fell six metres (20 ft) through an uncovered opening to the floor of an empty concrete well. The worker suffered serious spinal injuries resulting in paralysis.

It is believed that the worker was unaware of the opening. An investigation determined that, at the time of the incident, he was wearing a full body harness with a single lanyard unattached to a fixed support or lifeline. Furthermore, he should have been using a double or retractable lanyard. Workers had been instructed to tie off their fall arrest if they thought they were at risk of falling. The investigation also found that the lighting was inadequate for the worker to have seen the opening, and that more training would have helped ensure he was wearing the proper fall protection.

International Cooling Tower pled guilty to failing to ensure that the worker used appropriate fall protection, and/or the worker was protected from openings in a work platform, and/or there was adequate lighting to protect the health or safety of the worker.