Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A metal recycling company in Peterborough pleaded guilty and has been fined $105,000 after a worker was killed by an excavator operating in reverse.
The incident took place at the Ajax-based Peterborough Iron & Metal Inc.’s facility at 740 Erskine Avenue in Peterborough on August 18, 2015. A worker was in the yard, adjacent to a narrow roadway, cutting apart the bucket portion of a front-end loader with a cutting torch. This was not the normal area where the worker would have performed this operation; the bucket had been moved to that location by an excavator operated by a co-worker. After dropping the bucket off, the co-worker then affixed the rear bumper of a city bus to the shear attachment of the excavator and proceeded to operate the excavator in reverse along the roadway, pulling the bumper in order to move it to another location close to where the worker was cutting apart the bucket. While reversing, the right rear track of the excavator struck and crushed the other worker, causing fatal injuries.
A Ministry of Labour inspector conducted an investigation into the cause of the incident and determined that the metal material was being moved in a manner that endangered the safety of a worker. The excavator being used to move the pieces of metal was being operated in reverse and the worker operating the excavator did not have a clear view of the intended path of travel, nor was there a signaler to assist with the task. In addition, the excavator in question did not have a working travel alarm. These were all violations of Section 56 of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation).
Peterborough Iron & Metal Inc. failed as an employer to ensure that measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were carried out at the workplace, contrary to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The employer pleaded guilty and was fined $105,000 by Justice of the Peace Peter Hiscox in Peterborough court on January 23, 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.
The law(s) in contravention,
Peterborough Iron & Metal Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 56 which states,
“Where the operator of a vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment does not have a full view of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment or its load, the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment shall only be operated as directed by a signaller who is a competent person and who is stationed,
(a) in full view of the operator;
(b) with a full view of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment and its load; and
(c) clear of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment and its load.”
Peterborough Iron and Metal Inc. was also found guilty of a 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.”
This particular post hits close to home, literally. The HRS Group Inc. office used to be on the Queensway, in throwing distance of the scrap yard. We would go by it every working day. We were in the process of moving when the accident occurred. Scary stuff when someone has a critical injury or death on the job, especially right next door.
All these questions should have been asked and answered before anything this dangerous was to be attempted:
- Why was a risk assessment or JHA (job hazard analysis) completed before the work was to be done?
- Where was the supervisor and was, he/she, “competent” as defined by the OHSA? and
- Was there training and refresher training for the workers?
I wonder what changes have been made to improve safety on the site since the accident? The Ministry of Labour (MOL) would not have left the investigation until there were assurances by the company that this type of accident/incident would not happen again.
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.