Blog Post #485 – Coco Paving Inc. Fined $170,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Coco Paving Inc., a Tecumseh road constructor, was fined $170,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On June 1, 2011, Coco Paving Inc. was installing sewer and water main connections on MacKay Ave. in Windsor. Near the end of the day, the driver of a front-end loader went to retrieve dirt from a work area and take it to a stockpile farther down the street. Rather than turn the vehicle around, the driver operated it in reverse. While backing up, the front-end loader fatally struck a worker who was crossing the street.

Coco Paving Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a vehicle at a project was not operated in reverse when there was a practical alternative to doing so.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Helen Gale. In addition to the fine, the court 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:

Coco Paving Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 104, subsection 2 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“(1) every project shall be planned and organized so that vehicles, machines and equipment are not operated in reverse or are operated in reverse as little as possible.

(2) Vehicles, machines and equipment at a project shall not be operated in reverse unless there is no practical alternative to doing so.”

The law is there to protect the worker. Here we find a heavy equipment operator driving the equipment unsafely. I do wonder, however, if the operator received adequate training for this type of equipment? If so, where was it and was the operator competent to operate the equipment?

If the reader does not remember competency in Ontario, I have copied the legal definition as listed in the ‘definitions’ portion of the OHSA which states,

“Competent person” means a person who,

(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,

(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and

(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.”

Please ensure that your people live this to the standard listed above. If not, then pay the consequences.

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.

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