Blog Post #1174 – Heavy Equipment Fatality in Brampton Results in $85,000 Fine

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

An employee of Cobra Float Services Inc. out of Concord, Ontario, was killed when a machine that was being off-loaded from a float trailer overturned.

On May 25, 2013 a worker was off-loading a curb machine at a construction site. The curb machine’s left rear wheel was offset to near the middle of the machine, to accommodate the laying of the curb concrete.

The float trailer (a heavy-equipment mover) that was being used had ramps which could support the three other wheels, but there was a space between the ramps.

As the machine was being backed off the float trailer, the offset wheel dropped into the gap between the ramps. The machine overturned and the worker off-loading the machine was crushed and killed.

The employer ought to have provided a trailer with a continuous ramp across the whole width of the trailer, or provided and ensured that the worker used a portable ramp that could be secured in place between the trailer ramps.

No spotter was used, the curb machine’s controls were set to “auto” (meaning it would attempt to level itself with any change in surface height), and the height of the machine was set 10 inches higher than recommended, which increased the height of its centre of gravity and made it less stable.

The company failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 37(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The regulation states that “material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”

In this case, a curb machine was moved at a project in a manner that endangered a worker.

Following a trial, an appeal by the Crown and conviction by the appeal judge in Brampton court on October 12, 2018, the company was fined $85,000 by Judge Ronald Minard; 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:

Cobra Floats Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector regulation, section 37, subsection (1) which states,

“Material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”

This is contrary to 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.”

I find that, even after an appeal, the company received a fine of only $85,000. I would wager that the appeal process would have cost much more.

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 

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.





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