Canadian Occupational Safety

January/February 2021

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 6 of 47 7 WORKER CRITICALLY INJURED IN BULLDOZER INCIDENT AECON CONSTRUCTION was fined $90,000 after pleading guilty to violations after one worker suffered critical injuries after contact with a reversing bulldozer. On June 11, 2018, a worker and an equipment operator were working as a team on a part of Highway 417 in Ottawa. The worker was tasked with taking elevation readings using a GPS laser and marking out the readings on the ground, while the equipment operator was operating a bulldozer. The worker taking the readings could not receive a signal for the GPS equipment and attempted to locate a signal by walking to different areas of the site. While doing so the worker was facing west, back to the bulldozer. The bulldozer's operator was in the process of back-blading material, a process where the operator pushes material forward and then runs the blade over the material in reverse. The operator placed the bulldozer in reverse, activating the backup alarm on the bulldozer, and looked over one shoulder. The workers proceeded to reverse after not noticing anyone behind. The backup alarm could not be heard over the noise of Highway 417. As a result, the worker taking readings was knocked to the ground. The bulldozer operator then noticed two survey workers running toward the bulldozer. The operator stopped the bulldozer, saw a hardhat on the ground, exited the bulldozer and found the worker on the ground. As a result of the contact, the worker suffered critical injuries. Investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that the injured worker would not reasonably have been noticed by the equipment operator while the bulldozer was reversing and the ability of the operator to view the worker within the rear-view mirror while reversing the bulldozer would have become progressively more obstructed. In such a scenario, a signaller should have been used to assist the equipment operator. Section 104, subsection 3 of O. Reg. 213/91 — the Regulation for Construction Projects — states that operators of vehicles, machines and equipment shall be assisted by signallers if the operator's view of the intended path of travel is obstructed and/or a person could be endangered by the vehicle, machine or equipment or by its load. Also, the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace. Accordingly, Aecon Construction Ontario East Limited, as an employer, failed to ensure that the equipment operator was assisted by a signaller as required by the regulation. The employer was convicted on Oct. 29, 2020 in provincial offences court in Ottawa by Justice of the Peace Herb Kreling and Crown counsel Alicia Gordon-Fagan. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, to be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime. This fine is equal to $22,500, bringing the total fine up to $112,500. Ontario company slapped with $95K fine AGF Rebar Inc. — a company that designs, fabricates and installs concrete reinforcing steel (rebar) and wire mesh for construction projects — was fined a total of $95,000 while its supervisor was fined $2,000 for separate incidents. Both the company and the supervisor pleaded guilty in provincial offences. In the first incident, a worker was struck on the hands by a falling load of rebar pieces and had to be taken to hospital. In the second incident, a worker sustained critical injuries to their hand after it got pinched in a rotary blender. "The injured worker would not reasonably have been noticed by the equipment operator.… In such a scenario, a signaller should have been used to assist the equipment operator." Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development Exploding cap strikes worker in City of London The Corporation of the City of London in Ontario was fined $70,000 for failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, which is an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The incident occurred in October 2018, when workers from the Water Operations Division of the City of London were instructed by their supervisor to prepare the water drain chamber. During the operation, a worker was struck by a pressurized joint cap shooting off the drain pipeline. This caused the worker critical injuries. CEO charged with soliciting political contributions from workers Five charges have been laid against Bernard Poulin, founder and CEO of Groupe S.M. International Inc., an engineering firm, under the Canada Elections Act. Under the act, it is illegal for anyone other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident to make a political contribution or to conceal the source of a contribution. The charges relate to an investigation into the firm for illegal contributions made to federal political entities between Jan. 1, 2004 and June 11, 2009. The charges were filed on Sept. 21, 2020 in the Court of Quebec in Montreal.

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