Blog Post #1524 – Workplace Fatality Results in $75,000 Fine for Newmarket Construction Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker was fatally injured during the erection of retaining walls at a construction site for a four-storey apartment building. Contrary to safety procedures, 2671475 Ontario Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure a worker was protected by means of a signaller as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

2671475 Ontario Inc., the constructor of an apartment building on Cemetery Road in Uxbridge, subcontracted the erection of retaining walls to an excavation and site servicing company. The true name of the company is Q1 Condos.

The job entailed moving pallets of blocks with a forklift designed for movement on rough terrain. The machine had a telescoping boom with a forklift attachment.

On November 30, 2021, a worker, employed by the subcontractor, asked the forklift operator, who was employed by the defendant, to move four pallets of blocks from the front of the project to the rear.

After dropping the fourth pallet at the rear, the forklift operator proceeded to reverse the machine back to the front of the project.

To provide signaling assistance, the contract worker moved to the right side of the forklift, then stepped closer to the machine’s rear wheels to ensure the operator could see their hand signals.

Shortly after, the operator lost sight of the contract worker in the passenger sideview mirror and immediately stopped the machine.

Although there were no witnesses to the incident, the evidence appears to show the worker slipped on snow and mud, falling under the wheel of the moving vehicle. The worker was fatally injured.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development determined the forklift’s right-side mirror had limited visibility due to its positioning and blockage by the machine’s boom and hoses. As the operator did not have a clear view of the path of the machine’s travel, it was required that a signaler assist.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Whitby, 2671475 Ontario Inc. was fined $75,000 by Justice of the Peace Lawrence Smith. Crown Counsel was 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:

Constructor 2671475 Ontario Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector 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.”

This is contrary to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 23, subsection 1(a) which 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.”

The reader can see that the constructor is always responsible for any contravention of the Act or regulation 213/91.

It continues to blow me away that something as a signal person could have stopped this and protected the worker.

I guess the constructor didn’t get the memo.

Too bad and too late for the worker!

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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

 

 

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