Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker, employed by Graham Bros. Construction Ltd. of Brampton, Ontario, was killed after being struck by the bucket of an excavator at a construction project in Caledon.

The company was engaged on a construction project at the intersection of King Street and Heart Lake Road in Caledon, Ontario. The job consisted of the resurfacing of a portion of King Street, including watermain repairs.

On January 14, 2019, three Graham Bros. workers were laying water pipe in the bottom of a trench to connect a concrete catch basin. One of the workers was operating a hydraulic excavator at grade and was levelling the earth in the bottom of the trench with the excavator bucket. This would allow the existing pipe to be attached to the catch basin.

A second worker was acting as a signaller and using hand signals to guide the excavator worker. A third worker, or “pipe layer” was standing at the top of the trench to one side.

The placement of the excavator’s bucket and boom were centred on the trench and almost fully obstructed the operator’s view of the trench wall, the catch basin and the second worker although the operator could see the second worker’s hand signals.

While a bucket of earth was being removed, the second worker was struck by the excavator bucket and was pinned between the bucket and catch basin.

The third worker and an off-duty police officer who was hired by the company to direct traffic became aware of the event and called emergency medical services. The injured worker was taken to hospital and succumbed to the injuries.

Following a guilty plea, Graham Bros. Construction Ltd. was fined $150,000 in provincial offences court in Caledon by Justice of the Peace Jeannie Anand; Crown Counsel Dan Kleiman.

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:

Graham Brothers Construction Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Construction regulation 213/91, section 106, subsection 2(b) which states,

“A signaller,

(b)  shall be in full view of the operator of the vehicle, machine or equipment, crane or similar hoisting device, shovel, backhoe or similar excavating machine.”

This is contrary to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 23, subsection 1(a) which states,

“A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,

  • the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project.”

Funny how people just assume that anyone can be a signaller and that training would be unnecessary and another worker is killed. Totally avoidable.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Construction Flagging.’. 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.