TORONTO — Torrent Shotcrete Canada Ltd. has been fined $130,000 after a worker was killed after falling into the hopper of a concrete pumper.
The incident took place January 16, 2017 at a residential building under construction at 200 Woodbine Avenue in Toronto. The Toronto-based company was fined by Justice of the Peace Rosanne Giulietti in provincial court in Toronto July 9.
At the time of the incident Shotcrete was being applied to the excavated walls of the construction project and the Torrent Shotcrete worker was operating a concrete pump owned by the company.
The worker was in the process of cleaning out the hopper at the end of the work day using a power chisel, as it was necessary to clean the hopper after any given pumping period so residual concrete would not harden.
The worker fell into the hopper with the concrete auger running and was killed, indicates a Ministry of Labour court bulletin, adding there was no eyewitness to the incident and it is unknown how the worker fell into the hopper.
On the top of the involved hopper was a grate that prevented access to the auger. The hopper was equipped by the manufacturer with a sensor that would stop the movement of the auger upon the opening of the grate. The sensor would allow power to the auger as long as it was in contact with a metal piece that was attached to the grate, explained the bulletin.
“Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that the sensor on the hopper in question had been rendered inoperative by a metal washer that had been taped onto it, which would cause the sensor to allow power to the auger even when the grate was open. It had the same effect as the contact of the sensor with the grate when the grate was closed,” states the court bulletin.
“Investigation further revealed that wiring for the sensor had been altered so as to falsely indicate that the safety grate was closed, thereby allowing uninterrupted power to the auger when the grate was open, even had the sensor not been disabled by the taped washer.”
Torrent Shotcrete pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to comply with section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to ensure that a grate sensor on a concrete hopper was not rendered inoperative.
The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act which is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.