Blog Post #606 – G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction Fined $110,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction Company Limited, a producer of sand, gravel and other aggregate products, has been fined $110,000 for a violation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On October 29, 2012, a crew of workers was preparing to dismantle mobile rock crushing equipment at the company’s surface mine known as the Woods Quarry located at 5436 Woods Drive in Elizabeth-Kitley Township near Athens. The piece of equipment, a stacker conveyor, consists of a hopper and a truss frame that supports a conveyor belt 120 feet long and 36 feet high at one end.

The workers were required to fold and lower the stacker’s top (or head frame) onto the lower (centre) frame so it could be moved to another surface mine location. However, a belt restraint bar on the stacker was preventing the head frame from being fully lowered.

A crew member lifted another worker to a height of about nine feet to the head frame, using a front end loader; the worker then climbed between the partly-folded head and centre frames to access a pin securing the belt restraint bar. It is believed the worker accidentally made contact with a main hydraulic fitting that controls the height of the head frame, which was positioned directly above the worker. The hydraulic cylinder broke, causing a sudden release of the hydraulic fluid and pressure.

There was no blocking material in place between the head frame and the centre frame to prevent the subsequent collapse of the head frame on the worker. The worker later died from the crushing injuries.
G. Tackaberry & Sons Construction Company pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the stacker conveyor’s head frame was blocked so as to prevent its accidental lowering as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and was fined $110,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Raymond J. Switzer. 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:

G. Tackaberry & Sons was found guilty of a contravention of a section of Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ regulation 854/90.

They were also in violation of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the OHSA which states,

The employer shall,

“(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

A toolbox or tailgate meeting prior to the work being done should have been engaged and all possible hazards identified. This type of procedure should have been in place but was not. I was also surprised to find that a worker was lifted up into position by a front end loader. (I do not think the manufacturer had this type of operation in mind) Lockout and Tagout procedures cover the blocking of parts of a machine that may move during maintenance, repair or dismantling.

I do hope that the reader has learned that even a dismantling procedure should be formulated and discussed by competent people prior to any work being done. If this is not accomplished at your facility then your people will be at risk and the MOL will be calling.

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’, ‘Mining 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer

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