Blog Post #1270 – Worker’s Death in Oshawa Results in $125,000 Fine for Concord Contractor

Blog Post #1270 – Worker’s Death in Oshawa Results in $125,000 Fine for Concord Contractor

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker, employed by Orin Contractors Corp. of Concord, Ontario, a contractor providing municipal construction. was killed when the scoop bucket attachment on an excavator fell on the worker. A hydraulic coupler attached to the excavator was operated in a manner that was not in accordance with the bucket attachment procedure in the operating manual.

On June of 2018, Orin Contractors was engaged in a contract with the City of Oshawa for the replacement of sanitary sewer lines. On June 18 the company was working near Verdun Avenue in Oshawa. A worker had begun working for Orin that day.

A supervisor began the work day with a “toolbox” talk and assigned tasks for the day. The new worker was instructed to use the excavator to uncover a pipe that had been laid the week before, and to continue digging the excavation.

The excavator was equipped with a hydraulic coupler which allowed the operator to attach and detach implements to and from the boom of the machine. The scoop bucket attachment being used was capable of being attached with the teeth facing the operator to dig back toward the operator’s cab, or turned around with the teeth facing away from the operator and used as a shovel.

The next day, on June 19, excavation started with the bucket attached to the excavator in the “dig” position, pulling material back toward the excavator. The operator was instructed by the supervisor to turn the bucket around to the “shovel” position to allow better access to the soil around a natural gas pipe in the trench.

The worker placed the bucket on the ground, detached the bucket from the coupler, and spun the bucket around on the ground, pushing it with the coupler.

The worker attempted to re-attach the bucket, but did not follow the procedure for doing so as set out in the coupler manufacturer’s user manual. Unknown to the operator, the bucket was not properly attached to the coupler.

At that time, the supervisor entered the excavation to do shovelling by hand around the pipe that had been previously installed, in order to attach it to the next length of pipe. As the operator swung the bucket over the trench, the bucket fell into the trench, landing on and crushing the supervisor. The bucket weighed over 2,700 pounds and the supervisor died as a result of the injuries.

After the fatal incident, testing was conducted by the Ministry of Labour and found that there were no mechanical defects. Testing further confirmed that all systems were working properly. It is believed the failure of the operator to follow the manufacturer-directed safety checks for coupler attachment was the source of the failure.

At an interview, it was apparent that the operator was not familiar with the full safety checking procedure as set out in the coupler manufacturer’s user manual. The manual was in English and the operator spoke a different language

Following a guilty plea on September 21, 2020, Orin Contractors Corp. was fined $125,000 in Ontario Court of Justice in Oshawa by Judge Susan Magotiaux; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.

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:

Orin Contractors Corp. Was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Construction regulation 213/91, section 93, subsection 3 which states,

All vehicles, machines, tools and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.

The company failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed in section 93(3) were carried out in a workplace contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

The employer could also have been charged under section 25, subsection 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall,

(a)  provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

There is a real need here for employers to understand that the worker MUST receive all the necessary information to do the work. That is the law!

Yesterday, I was completing a forklift practical and I discussed that the same issue concerning the capacity plate. If the plate is illegible and cannot be read then the important information on the plate such as; Capacity weight, Load Centre Distance and Lift Height will not be readily available and the worker(s) are not at risk.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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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