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Toronto company fined $420,000 for subway construction death and injury, safety violation

By COS Staff

A company has been fined $400,000 for the 2011 death of a worker and injury of another, as well as $20,000 for a subsequent safety violation.

The maximum fine under the Occupational Health and Safety Act is $500,000, making this one of the steepest fines issued under the act.  

On Oct. 11, 2011, workers were on a job site near York University on Keele Street working on a subway line addition. The project is being constructed by a limited partnership, 1842887 Ontario/OHL-FCC GP Canada.

One worker, subcontracted as a general contractor, was creating a shaft using a drill rig equipped with an auger. Another worker was operating an excavator digging dispersal holes. A third worker, also a subcontractor, was operating a backhoe loader.

When the drill rig operator raised the auger from the hole and swung the mast, the rig toppled and the mast and casing crushed the excavator and the backhoe.

The worker operating the backhoe was killed, and the worker using the excavator was seriously injured.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour into the incident revealed inadequate site preparation and a soil base not able to withstand the weight of the drill rig were contributing factors. Combined with the dispersal holes being filled with wet material, the ground-bearing capacity of the working surface was significantly reduced. The drill rid was also operating on a steeper slope than safety parameters allowed.

OHL-FCC GP was fined $400,000 under the OHSA after pleading guilty to not ensuring, as a constructor, that required safety measures were followed.

MoL inspectors also looked at a tunneling construction project for another TTC subway expansion during a routine inspection in March 2012. The inspectors were there to ensure the job site had necessary rescue equipment that was current, acceptable for the task, and in working order.

The inspectors determined the rescue equipment, specifically the self-contained breathing apparatus, was not being inspected once a month, as the law states as a minimum recommendation.

OHL-FCC GP once again pleaded guilty to failing to ensure this monthly inspection took place, and was fined $20,000.

Justice Melvyn Green in Old City Hall Court in Toronto imposed both fines, as well as a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharged, as required under the Provincial Offences Act.

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