Blog Post #1095 – Worker Pulled into Traffic and Injured, Employer Fined $50,000

Blog Post #1095 – Worker Pulled into Traffic and Injured, Employer Fined $50,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 An employee working for Liqui-Force Services (Ontario) Inc. received critical injuries after being pulled into moving traffic by a cable. Liqui-Force Services (Ontario) Inc., operates a no-dig, pipeline rehabilitation service and offers complete pipeline system inspection, assessment, rehabilitation and maintenance. The accident took place on February 28, 2017.

Liqui-Force was contracted by Henry Heyink Construction Ltd. to perform relining work on existing municipal sewer piping in place under O’Neil Street in Chatham.

A worker employed by Liqui-Force received life-threatening injuries when cable that was unwinding was caught and pulled by a passing vehicle.

The injured worker was unravelling the cable from one winch located at one access cover (manhole) and pulling the cable toward another access cover down the street.

Other workers indicated that they regularly set up two separate work areas. In this instance both work areas – which included a work truck close to an access cover – were surrounded by orange cones that caused traffic to drive around the area. However, the distance between these two areas was several hundred feet and required the worker to pull the cable out from the winch this entire distance. There was no protection from passing traffic while the worker was between the two areas, and the street was open to public traffic.

As the worker was walking and unspooling the cable, it formed a loop on the roadway. The cable lying on the road was snagged by a vehicle traveling north between the two project areas. The worker was holding one end of the cable and was flung backwards onto the road by the moving vehicle becoming attached to the cable.

While Liqui-Force did have a traffic protection plan in place, the plan failed to ensure there was adequate protection from vehicular hazards while the cable was being unspooled between the two protected areas.

As such, Liqui-Force failed to comply with section 67(5) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Regulation) as required by an employer contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This section of the regulation states that there must be a written traffic protection plan in place that informs workers about vehicular traffic hazards and the measures that will be used to protect them.

Following a guilty plea in Chatham court, Justice of the Peace Elizabeth M. Neilson fined the company $50,000; Crown Counsel Katherine Ballweg.

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

The law(s) in contravention

Liqui-Force was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector regulation 213/91, section 67, subsection 5 which states,

The traffic protection plan,

(a) shall specify the vehicular traffic hazards and the measures described in subsection (2) to be used to protect workers; and

(b) shall be kept at the project and made available to an inspector or a worker on request.

Liqui-Force could have been charged under section 67, subsections 2,3, and 4. Basically, it describes the safety devices used, including a traffic controller and the creation of a traffic control and protection plan for every operation.

Since this occurred, it also was a direct contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs, including “Construction Flagging” and “Due Diligence.” Please contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

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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