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Worker crushed and killed by curb machine, constructor fined $85,000

DCN News Services
Worker crushed and killed by curb machine, constructor fined $85,000

BRAMPTON, ONT. — Cobra Float Services Inc. of Concord, Ont. was convicted and fined for its role in a construction fatality that happened six years ago.

Cobra is headquartered on Bowes Road in Concord. The fatal incident occurred at a construction site near James Potter Road in Brampton, Ont.

An Ontario Ministry of Labour statement recounts that on May 25, 2013 a worker was off-loading a curb machine at a construction site. The curb machine’s left rear wheel was offset to near the middle of the machine, to accommodate the laying of the curb concrete.

The curb machine had been transported by a float trailer, which is a heavy-equipment mover. The trailer had ramps that could support the three other wheels, but there was a space between the ramps.

As the machine was being backed off the float trailer, the offset wheel dropped into the gap between the ramps. The machine overturned and the worker off-loading the machine was crushed and killed.

The court found the employer ought to have provided a trailer with a continuous ramp across the whole width of the trailer, or provided and ensured that the worker used a portable ramp that could be secured in place between the trailer ramps.

No spotter was used, the curb machine’s controls were set to “auto,” meaning it would attempt to level itself with changes to surface height, and the machine’s height was set 10 inches higher than recommended, which increased the height of its centre of gravity making it less stable.

According to the statement, the court found Cobra failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 37(1) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Projects Regulation) were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The regulation states that “material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”

Following a trial, an appeal by the Crown and conviction by the appeal judge in Brampton court Oct. 12, 2018, the company was fined $85,000 by Judge Ronald Minard.

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