Blog Post #1282 – Worker Injured by Reversing Bulldozer, Construction Company Fined $90,000 in Ottawa

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Aecon Construction Ontario East Ltd of Carp, Ontario, a company in the business of asphalt paving and construction, received critical injuries after contact with a reversing bulldozer. The operator of the bulldozer should have had the assistance of a signaller watching for people who may have been in the path of the bulldozer.

On June 11, 2018, a worker and an equipment operator were working as a team on a part of Highway 417 in Ottawa. The worker was tasked with taking elevation readings using a GPS laser and marking out the readings on the ground, while the equipment operator was operating a bulldozer.

The worker taking the readings could not receive a signal for the GPS equipment and attempted to locate a signal by walking to different areas of the site. While doing so the worker was facing west, back to the bulldozer.

The bulldozer’s operator was in the process of back-blading material, a process where the operator pushes material forward and then runs the blade over the material in reverse. The operator placed the bulldozer in reverse (which activated the back-up alarm on the bulldozer) looked over one shoulder and proceeded to reverse after not noticing anyone behind. The back-up alarm could not be heard over the noise of Highway 417.

The worker taking readings was knocked to the ground.

The bulldozer operator noticed two survey workers running toward the bulldozer. The operator stopped the bulldozer, saw a hardhat on the ground, exited the bulldozer and found the worker on the ground. As a result of the contact, the worker suffered critical injuries

A visibility and line-of-sight assessment was conducted by a Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development ergonomist. The line-of-sight assessment identified any blind spots or areas with an obstructed view from the perspective of the equipment operator.

The visibility and line of sight assessment determined that the injured worker would not reasonably have been noticed by the equipment operator while the bulldozer was reversing and the ability for the operator to view the worker within the rear-view mirror while reversing the bulldozer would have become progressively more obstructed. In such a scenario, a signaller should have been used to assist the equipment operator.

Section 104, subsection 3 of O. Reg. 213/91 – the Regulation for Construction Projects – was in direct contravention and the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) states that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.

Accordingly, Aecon Construction Ontario East Limited, as an employer, failed to ensure that the equipment operator was assisted by a signaller as required by the regulation.

Following a guilty plea, Aecon Construction Ontario East Limited was fined $90,000 in provincial offences court in Ottawa by Justice of the Peace Herb Kreling; 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:

Aecon Construction Ontario East was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ regulation 213/91, section 104, subsection 3 which states,

Operators of vehicles, machines and equipment shall be assisted by signallers if either of the following applies:

  1. The operator’s view of the intended path of travel is obstructed.
  2. A person could be endangered by the vehicle, machine or equipment or by its load.

Aecon 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.”

It is very important that the employer realize that there are many times that a worker/employee can be at risk and the employer is required to complete risk assessments prior to any work is to be done.

By the way, why did the operator only look over one shoulder? Good question.

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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