Blog Post #54 – Torus Construction Limited Fined $110,000 After Worker Killed

Excerpts from the Ontario Government ‘Newsroom’

Torus Construction Limited, an Ottawa paving company, was fined $110,000 on January 22, 2010, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.

On June 17, 2008, at the intersection of Britannia and Howe Streets in Ottawa, a Torus labourer was cleaning the concrete chute of a machine that pours and moulds street curbs. Another worker climbed into the machine, started it, beeped the horn twice and then moved it in reverse. The machine caught and fatally crushed the labourer.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that while driving the machine, the worker’s view of the intended path of travel was obstructed, endangering the labourer.

Torus Construction Limited pleaded guilty under the OHSA of failing as an employer to ensure the worker operating the machine was assisted by a signaler.

The fine was imposed by Justice Hugh L. Fraser. 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:

Torus Construction Ltd.,  was convicted under the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91, section 104, subsection 3 which states;

“Operators of vehicles, machines and equipment shall be assisted by signalers if either of the following applies:

1. The operator’s view of the intended path of travel is obstructed; and/or
2. A person could be endangered by the vehicle, machine or equipment or by its load.”

The company could have also been fined under section 25 of the OHSA subsection 2(h)

“The employer shall, take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”

The fine was definitely in line with other fines in Ontario when a death of a worker occurs while he/she was on the job.

I was wondering, does the company have written work procedures with respect to this particular machine. It was never discussed but could proper employee orientation have taken place in regards to the handling and moving of this machine?

Many questions have been left unanswered. As I have stated in a previous blog, I am sure glad I am working in Ontario. Many of the other provinces do not see fit to send stern warnings to the companies in their area.

Ontario is still leading the way in the field of health and safety. It is a slow process but the highlighted cases are public and the reputation of many companies is out in the open for all to see. That, alone, should give many second thoughts about the safety of their employees.

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. 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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