Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
During construction of high-rise residential towers, a worker was fatally injured when a thirteen-ton counterweight from an excavator fell on them. Orin Contracting Services Inc. failed to ensure the safety measures and procedures for removing a counterweight from an excavator.
In early 2020, Roni Excavation Ltd. (“Roni”) and one of its subsidiaries, Orin Contracting Services Inc., were contracted to conduct excavation and backfilling at a construction site for five residential condominium towers.
On February 28, 2020, a worker and their supervisor went to the site to prepare an excavator for movement to another construction site. For the excavator to be moved, it was necessary to remove its bucket, boom, and counterweight to reduce the overall weight of the machine.
The employer was provided with a Manufacturer’s Operation and Maintenance Manual, which outlined the procedure for safe removal of the counterweight to prevent injury or death.
The specified procedure involves engaging the hydraulic system of the excavator, but the work crew did not use the manufacturer’s specified procedure. Instead, they backed a truck up to the counterweight to use as a work platform and began removing the mounting bolts.
After three of the six mounting bolts for the counterweight were removed, the supervisor climbed onto the excavator to remove a camera and lights from the machine to prevent damage. The worker continued removing bolts, and when loosening the sixth bolt, the thirteen-ton counterweight fell onto them causing fatal injuries.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Old City Hall, Orin Contracting Services Inc. was fined $125,000 by Mr. Justice M. McLeod; 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Orin Contracting Services Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Regulation’ 213/91, section 93(3) which states,
“All vehicles, machines, tools, and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.”
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.”
Many tough questions needed to be asked and answered. Some may include,
- Where was the supervisor in all this?
- Why was the manual not consulted when creating a procedure?
- Was a JHA, Job Hazard Assessment or Analysis not completed prior? and
- Do they have a Safety Professional on staff?
All good questions, but, as we see here, no answers.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘SOPs’ (Safe Operating Procedures). Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
We can also be reached at www.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
CEO and Training Director