Blog Post #921 – Subway Construction Death and Injuries Result in Trial, $50,000 In Fines to Subcontractor

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

The 2011 death of a worker and injury to another at a Toronto Transit Commission subway construction site in North York has resulted in a $50,000 fine to a subcontractor of the project. Following a trial, Advanced Construction Techniques Ltd. was found guilty on August 16, 2016 and sentenced in court on September 26, 2016 by Judge Brent Knazan.

On October 11, 2011, workers were on the job site at 4700 Keele Street near York University, where twin bored tunnels are under construction to add an 8.6-km subway line from the existing Downsview Station to the Vaughan Corporate Centre in York Region for the Toronto Transit Commission. The project is being constructed by a limited partnership, 1842887 Ontario Ltd./ OHL-FCC GP Canada Inc., with 1793380 Ontario Ltd./Advanced Construction Techniques Ltd. (ACT), a company that provides geotechnical construction services, as a subcontractor.

On that afternoon, the worker operating the drill rig raised the auger from the hole and swung the mast. The worker saw the boom of the machine going to the right and felt the machine move; witnesses saw the rig moving back and forth with the auger in the air and saw one of the tracks go into a rut. The drill rig suddenly toppled and the mast and casing crushed the excavator as well as the backhoe. A worker operating an excavator was seriously injured and a worker operating a backhoe was killed. Two other workers were also injured by the falling equipment.

In addition to the fine to ACT, 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.

After two weeks at trial in 2014, OHL-FCC GP Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as a constructor to ensure that safety measures required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act were followed, and was fined $400,000. A subsequent, separate safety violation by the same company resulted in a guilty plea and a $20,000 fine. These sentences were handed down on November 28, 2014.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

1793380 Ontario Ltd./Advanced Construction Techniques Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Occupational Health and Safety Act’ (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

I realize the size of the fine is in now way as large as the constructor fine, it is not very often that constructor and contractors are fined for the same accident/incident. Usually the big boy on the block received the heavy damage and the constructor MUST ensure that all measures in the OHSA and ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, were being followed.

The word, “Compaction” is useful in this case. It sounds to me that they were drilling holes for caissons and the ground compaction was changing. There is supposed to be a competent person or engineer onsite to supervise to ensure that this does not happen, hence the second fine.

The original constructor should have had a safety person on site that could have watched for this type of incident as well.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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’, ‘Trenching 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
HRS Group Inc.

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