NEWMARKET, ONT. — Concord, Ont.-based Vaughan Paving Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined $125,000 recently after a worker was struck by equipment and later died from the injuries in an incident that occurred three years ago.
The firm, which operates in the residential and commercial paving and grading sector, was contracted to install concrete curbs and sidewalks at a commercial strip mall on Bullock Drive in Markham, indicates a Ministry of Labour (MOL) media statement.
On Aug. 27, 2014, a crew of company workers was grading and levelling the parking lot of the mall in preparation for concrete curbs. Workers were using equipment — a bulldozer and a skid steer — that had been left onsite by other contractors. A supervisor was operating the bulldozer and a worker was operating the skid steer. The victim was working on foot and was taking measurements of elevations at the east side of the project boundary.
The labourer was communicating the measurements to the supervisor, who would then use the bulldozer to blade the area to the desired elevation. The skid steer was used to level the parking lot and to deliver granular material to those areas where it was required.
The labourer had completed measuring the level of the grade in front of the bulldozer. The supervisor was sitting in the cab of the stationary bulldozer with its motor idling, watching the labourer and waiting for the labourer to move, so the bulldozer could be moved forward.
The supervisor observed the labourer walking backwards from the location and that the worker was walking directly behind the track of the skid steer, which was reversing. The supervisor unsuccessfully tried to alert the others by shouting; the horn on the bulldozer was not working. The skid steer drove into and struck the labourer.
The labourer was taken to Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and later died.
A MOL engineer investigated the technical aspects of the incident and found the forward/reverse, turning and stopping functions of the skid steer functioned as designed at the time of the incident, although there was no functioning reverse alarm. There were large blind spots on the rear side corners of the skid steer and there was no signaller to direct the skid steer while it was operating in reverse.
Section 104(3) of the Ontario Construction Projects Regulation requires 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" or if "a person could be endangered by the vehicle, machine or equipment or by its load."
The defendant’s failure to have a signaller assisting the operator of the skid steer meant that it failed to ensure compliance with the regulation. This is also an offence under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Vaughan Paving received the fine from Justice of the Peace Herbert Radtke in a Newmarket court on June 19.