October 8th, 2023
Employer Fined $75K in Telehandler Fatality in Uxbridge, Ontario
Workplace Fatality Results in $75,000 Fine for Newmarket Construction Company
October 05, 2023
Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development
Convicted: 2671475 Ontario Inc., 1100 Gorham Street, Unit 18, Newmarket, Ontario, L3Y 8Y8
Location of Workplace: 164 Cemetery Road, Uxbridge, Ontario
Description of Offence: A worker was fatally injured during the erection of retaining walls at a construction site for a four-storey apartment building. Contrary to safety procedures, 2671475 Ontario Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure a worker was protected by means of a signaller as outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Date of Offence: November 30, 2021
Date of Conviction: September 20, 2023
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Whitby, 2671475 Ontario Inc. was fined $75,000 by Justice of the Peace Lawrence Smith. Crown Counsel was Wes Wilson.
The court also 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.
2671475 Ontario Inc., the constructor of an apartment building on Cemetery Road in Uxbridge, subcontracted the erection of retaining walls to an excavation and site servicing company.
The job entailed moving pallets of blocks with a forklift designed for movement on rough terrain. The machine had a telescoping boom with a forklift attachment.
On November 30, 2021, a worker, employed by the subcontractor, asked the forklift operator, who was employed by the defendant, to move four pallets of blocks from the front of the project to the rear.
After dropping the fourth pallet at the rear, the forklift operator proceeded to reverse the machine back to the front of the project.
To provide signaling assistance, the contract worker moved to the right side of the forklift, then stepped closer to the machine’s rear wheels to ensure the operator could see their hand signals.
Shortly after, the operator lost sight of the contract worker in the passenger sideview mirror and immediately stopped the machine.
Although there were no witnesses to the incident, the evidence appears to show the worker slipped on snow and mud, falling under the wheel of the moving vehicle.
The worker was fatally injured.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development determined the forklift’s right-side mirror had limited visibility due to its positioning and blockage by the machine’s boom and hoses. As the operator did not have a clear view of the path of the machine’s travel, it was required that a signaler assist.
Contrary to the signaler requirements of the Regulation, the contract worker was not in full view of the forklift operator and was not clear of the intended path of the machine’s travel.
By failing to provide a signaler, as outlined in section 104(3) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, 2671475 Ontario Inc. violated section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.