Blog Post #1488 – Workplace Fatality Results in $115,000 Fine for Ottawa Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd., sustained fatal injuries during the demolition of foundation walls at a construction project for a new single-storey residential dwelling. The employer failed to take precautions to prevent injury to a person on or near a project that may result from the demolition of a building or structure, as prescribed.

Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd. was subcontracted by a home building company to perform foundation work for a new residential dwelling.

After the work was completed, the home builder noticed that the foundation was off measurement and notified the sub-contractor.

After inspecting the issue, the sub-contractor and the home builder determined that at least three foundation walls needed to be removed to fix the problem.

Following this, the sub-contractor directed two of its workers to use a saw to make cuts in the foundation in order to remove the problematic sections of the wall. The sub-contractor also directed an excavator operator employed by the home builder to knock down the cut sections of wall using the excavator.

During the cutting process, the belt on the saw broke and the owner of Bacic Forming Concrete left the job site to get it repaired. Prior to leaving the project, the owner directed the two workers to use crowbars and hammers to loosen concrete around the window to remove and salvage the window frame.

The workers determined that a more effective method would be to ask the excavator operator to tap the wall with the excavator bucket to loosen the concrete or crack the seal around the window.

Believing that the two workers were clear of the wall after repositioning the excavator cab, boom and bucket, the operator tapped the interior of the wall with the excavator bucket, causing the entire wall to collapse.

Unbeknownst to the operator, one of the workers was still in the excavation and sustained fatal injuries from the collapsing wall. At no time did the employer designate a signaler, or a person with a clear view of the area near the wall, to communicate hazards to the excavator operator, whose visibility was reduced by physical obstructions and the glare of the sun.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Ottawa, Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd., was fined $115,000 by Justice of the Peace Andrew Seymour. Crown Counsel were Alessandra Hollands and William Robinson.

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:

Bacic Forming Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction’ sector regulation 213/91, section 214, subsection 2 which states,

“Precautions shall be taken to prevent injury to a person on or near the project or the adjoining property that may result from the demolition, dismantling or moving of a building or structure.”

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.”

Bacic Forming Ltd., could have been charged with many sections of the OHSA. As well, there were many questions that were needed to be asked and answered prior to the operation.

Some of those may have been;

  • Was a hazard assessment completed?
  • Was the supervisor “Competent” to supervise?
  • Was a ‘Structural’ Engineer consulted? and
  • Was there a Safety Officer on site?

All good questions but no answers.

By the way, I was surprised that the Home Builder was not charged.

Under section 23, subsection 1 of the OHSA states,

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

(a)  the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project;

(b)  every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this Act and the regulations; and

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

It is the first time, in recent memory, that this oversight happened.

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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Update: Bacic Forming Ltd. has permanently closed.





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