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O.D.S. Marine fined $100K after worker killed

By COS staff

O.D.S. Marine, an Ottawa company specializing in marine construction and engineering and commercial diving, was fined $100,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On October 6, 2009, O.D.S. Marine was doing an underwater video inspection of a dam on the Trent Severn Waterway. A pontoon boat acted as the dive site for the operation. One diver performed the underwater inspection and videotaping while most of the crew remained on the boat. During the inspection, the diver reported that a stop log, a device controlling the water passing through the dam, was not sitting properly. The video relay to the boat showed a large gap under the stop log. The diver reported that water was "ripping" though the gap. The diver was told to get a view in towards the stop log. Soon after, the diver was pulled against the gap under the stop log and trapped there by forces of differential pressure. The diver died of chest compression while trapped.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the position of the boat relative to the direction of water flow allowed the diver's umbilical cord to be pulled through the gap under the stop log, causing the diver to be pulled and pinned against the stop log. Additionally, once the diver reported that water was "ripping" though the gap under the stop log, the dive should have stopped immediately.

O.D.S. Marine pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that before the dive began any water flow that was a potential hazard to the diver was identified and controlled to ensure it posed no safety hazard.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lorraine Watson. 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.

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