Homeowner Liability if a Worker falls from the Roof

Posted by Injury Lawyers of Ontario on July 04, 2017


If a worker falls on your property, as a homeowner, you may be held personally liable for the worker’s injuries and losses if you failed to check whether the contractor is properly trained and licenced and has adequate liability coverage that covers them for all risks.  Ask to see a copy of the contractor’s licence and liability insurance policy before they do any work on your property. Before hiring a contractor, you should also request a copy of the contract, which should clearly define all the work that will be performed on your property as well as the itemized costs and any guarantees.

It is important to ensure that any contractors performing dangerous jobs such as roofing, are vetted – it’s a good idea to check online reviews and references from past clients, to ensure that you are hiring a reliable contractor.

Contractors should always use their own tools – if you lend them your equipment or tools, you may be liable if your faulty equipment contributed to a contractor’s injury.  It’s also important to fully disclose any potential hazards or unsafe conditions, such as rotting steps, that could potentially cause injury.

Be on the lookout for workers who are not following accepted guidelines for safe practices, such as failing to wear safety equipment at all times while on a roof.  Since April 1, 2017, all roofing workers are required by Ontario law, to have a ‘working at heights training card’ which proves that they have been trained on safety techniques while working at heights.  This includes being protected whenever working more than 10 feet above the ground.  Working at heights training is effective for three years from the date training was completed.

In May 2017, a Belleville roofing contractor was sentenced to one day in jail and a fine of $10,000 for failing to adhere to safety regulation.  The employer had two previous convictions for safety violations when a Ministry of Labour inspector discovered that one of his employees was working on a residential roof higher than 10 feet above the ground (i.e. about 26 feet in this instance) without fall protection equipment.  Fortunately, no one fell or was injured in connection with this infraction.  Ontario law requires that the worker should have been wearing a travel restraint system, fall arrest system, fall-restricting system or a safety net.





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