Blog Post #1002 – Vaughan Paving Fined $125,000 After Worker Fatally Injured by Equipment

Blog Post #1002 – Vaughan Paving Fined $125,000 After Worker Fatally Injured by Equipment

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Vaughan Paving Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined $125,000 after a worker was struck by equipment and later died from the injuries.

Vaughan Paving Ltd., a Concord-based company that provides residential and commercial paving, concrete, grading and other services, was subcontracted to install concrete curbs and sidewalks at a commercial strip mall on Bullock Drive in Markham.

On August 27, 2014, a crew of company workers was grading and leveling the parking lot of the mall in preparation for concrete curbs. Workers were using equipment – a bulldozer and a skid steer – that had been left on site from other contractors. A supervisor was operating the bulldozer and a worker was operating the skid steer. A labourer was working on foot and was taking measurements of elevations at the east side of the project boundary.

The labourer was communicating the measurements to the supervisor, who would then use the bulldozer to blade the area to the desired elevation. The skid steer was used to level the parking lot and to deliver granular material to those areas where it was required.

The labourer had completed measuring the level of the grade in front of the bulldozer. The supervisor was sitting in the cab of the stationary bulldozer with its motor idling, watching the labourer and waiting for the labourer to move, so the bulldozer could be moved forward.

The supervisor observed the labourer walking backwards from the location and that the worker was walking directly behind the track of the skid steer, which was reversing. The supervisor unsuccessfully tried to alert the others by shouting; the horn on the bulldozer was not working. The skid steer drove into and struck the labourer.

The labourer was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre, and later passed away.

A Ministry of Labour engineer investigated the technical aspects of the incident, and found that the forward/reverse, turning and stopping functions of the skid steer functioned as designed at the time of the incident, although there was no functioning reverse alarm. There were large ‘blind spots’ on the rear side corners of the skid steer, and there was no signaller to direct the skid steer while it was operating in reverse.

The defendant’s failure to have a signaller assisting the operator of the skid steer meant that it failed to ensure compliance with the regulation. This is also an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Vaughan Paving Ltd. received a fine of $125,000 from Justice of the Peace Herbert B. Radtke in Newmarket court on June 19, 2017.

The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

My opinion

 

Vaughan Paving Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91, section 104, subsection 3(1) which states,

 

“Every project shall be planned and organized so that vehicles, machines and equipment are not operated in reverse or are operated in reverse as little as possible.”

 

Vaughan Paving Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of the same regulation, section 104, subsection 3(2) which states,

 

“Vehicles, machines and equipment at a project shall not be operated in reverse unless there is no practical alternative to doing so.”

And finally,

Vaughan Paving Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

 

It is always a bad day when a worker dies on the job. Most companies do not know the regulations until it is too late.

Here we have a situation where the safe operation of a vehicle would include spotters when blindspots have been identified and are part of the work shift. The operator was probably “Competent” to drive the unit but may not be aware of the regulation that applies.

“Competent Worker” is defined as;

“A worker who,

(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to perform the work,

(b) is familiar with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and with the provisions of the regulations that apply to the work, and

(c) has knowledge of all potential or actual danger to health or safety in the work.”

Since he/she was obviously not aware of this particular definition, then the company HAS to be guilty of not providing enough information, instruction and competent supervision to the worker.

Too bad, and much too late!

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

 

Dan
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