Blog Post #463 – Excavator Operator Crushed In Cab

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

An Ontario quarry worker suffered fatal crushing injuries when a falling boulder landed on the cab of the excavator in which he was sitting.

MOL spokesperson Bruce Skeaff confirms the ministry was notified of the deadly incident in Manotick, Ontario, just south of Ottawa, at about at 9 am on March 24, 2010. The deceased was employed by Green Valley Environmental Group, a company that provides turnkey design and construction for septic systems. It also owns the quarry.

“The worker was excavating the base of a pile of aggregate when a heavy boulder on top of the pile came down on the [excavator] cab,” Skeaff reports. Emergency medical services, police and MOL inspectors attended the scene, he says.

Two stop-work orders were issued against Green Valley Environmental. The first directive cites the need to store crushed concrete block material in such a way as to prevent it from collapsing or falling, and so that moving the material will not endanger workers. The second order notes that “the working height of the storage pile shall not be more than 1.5 metres above the maximum reach of the equipment,” Skeaff says. “At the time of our investigation, it was higher than that.”

Brian Barrett, field director for DMS Safety in Curwensville, Pennsylvania, says of the incident that it sounds like there was “a ground-control problem” in which material fell from a highwall.

The major difference between underground and surface mining is the prevalence of highwalls in the latter, says Barrett, whose company provides training and consulting services. Risks associated with highwalls include overburden of materials and stockpile areas being undercut, he reports.

Having falling-object protection available on excavators, however, should not lull stakeholders into a false sense of security, suggests the Mine Safety and Health Administration (MSHA) in the United States. When operating in a surface mine, MSHA urges quarry workers to always check the highwall and surrounding conditions, and to be sure to position their cabs as far away from the highwall as possible to prevent injury or death.

My opinion

The Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 has a large section on heavy equipment and excavations. The employer should always ensure that they are up on any of the current laws and also ensure that the operators are duly trained in all aspects of excavation health and safety. If the operators are not up on ALL the associated hazards then the employer is at fault under section 25 of the OHSA.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

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

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

19 thoughts on “Blog Post #463 – Excavator Operator Crushed In Cab”

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