Canadian Contractor

Alec Caldwell   

Worker pulled 30 feet to the ground by a failing anchor point

Canadian Contractor

The metal box used as the anchor point came loose, dragging him off the structure like an anchor

Classic film-buffs will remember Anchors Aweigh, the 1945 film starring Frank Sinatra and Gene Kelly about a couple of sailors on shore leave who engage in various hijinks in Hollywood, California.

In Elmira, Ontario, a recently-investigated industrial accident that might be termed “Anchor’s Away” was way less amusing than that charming musical comedy.

Earlier this week, a company from the small town west of Toronto pleaded guilty in a court in London, Ontario after one of its workers fell and suffered critical injuries on a job site.

The worker was wearing a correct fall protection harness – but it was not properly anchored down. The worker was involved in the installation of a new grain-handling system. His harness was attached by a lanyard to a newly-installed “cushion box”: a metal funnel-type container used to slow the movement of grain.


The problem was that the “cushion box” had not been welded down. It became accidentally dislodged by a metal pipe which was being hoisted into position. The cushion box then fell – and, like an anchor (it weighed about 150 pounds) it dragged the worker over the side of the structure, where he sustained a 30-foot plunge to the ground.

He sustained serious injuries, including a fracture. The firm, Earl Horst Systems Ltd., has been fined $50,000. Read the Ontario Ministry of Labour Report here.

The hazards of attaching lanyards to insufficient anchor points is described in Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation)

The regulation requires that a fall arrest system should be attached to an independent fixed support, one that’s capable of withstanding 6 kilonewtons (1,348.85 lbs.) of static force. The fixed support used for this  worker’s fall protection did not meet the requirement.

Let’s do it right and save lives!

And remember, in Ontario construction workers MUST complete their new Working at Heights training by March 31, 2017.

If they don’t, they cannot legally work on job sites.

How to get your training?

We at CARAHS are approved Ministry of Labour Working at Heights Approved Trainers (more info). Call and book your course today. We serve Toronto, Etobicoke, Markham, Richmondhill, Scarborough, Pickering, Ajax, Oshawa, Port Hope, Cobourg and more.

Toll free 1 866 366 2930

Passion – Commitment – Integrity


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