The Superior Court of Justice in Ontario, Canada recently sentenced a roofing company owner to 15 days in jail (in addition to other sanctions) for the fall death of one of his employees.  The employee, who was wearing a harness but was not tied-off, was both experienced and recently had undergone fall protection training.

In handing out the unprecedented jail sentence the Court reasoned that the owner initially had lied about the incident, had a history of fall protection violations and, importantly, the Court found that the owner had knowledge that the worker regularly did not use his fall protection equipment properly.

The Court considered it’s ruling a warning to all employers as it held, in part, “The major reason a jail sentence is necessary for (the owner) is to deter others from ignoring the legislated fall protection requirements.  Others in the industry must pause to consider that each and every time they embark on a roofing project they may go to jail if one of their employees does not use fall protection gear.”