Blog Post #1207 – Court Fines Ottawa Construction Company $70,000 After Backhoe Hits Worker

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A backhoe struck a worker exiting a portable toilet. The worker was employed by McDonald Brothers Construction Inc., out of Ottawa, Ontario.

In May 2017, McDonald Brothers was the constructor of a project renovating and adding to a multi-story institutional building.

On May 8, 2017, a backhoe struck a worker who was exiting a portable toilet. The worker sustained multiple injuries.

The Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that the toilet had been placed adjacent to a road used by vehicles. The toilet was also placed at an angle that prevented the backhoe operator and the worker from seeing each other.

On May 8, 2017, McDonald Brothers failed as a constructor to ensure that the health and safety of a worker at the project was protected.

Following a guilty plea, McDonald Brothers Construction Inc. was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace Karen Baum in Ottawa; Crown Counsel Alicia Gordon-Fagan.

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:

McDonald Brothers Construction Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 23, subsection 1(c) which states,

23 (1) “A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,

(c)  the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”

This one was very simple. The constructor MUST ensure that the health and safety of any worker on their site is protected. Period!

Let’s hope that this is an isolated case OR McDonald Brothers have learned their lesson and have instituted a safety culture on any of their sites and they can do that by hiring a safety professional to watch for safety violations and the power to make change.

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