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Company fined $125,000 following fatality caused by falling excavator counterweight

Company fined $125,000 following fatality caused by falling excavator counterweight

TORONTO — Concord, Ont.-based Orin Contracting Services Inc. has been fined $125,000 after a worker was fatally injured when a 13-ton counterweight from an excavator fell on them.

The incident occurred Feb. 28, 2020 at 5799 Yonge St. in Toronto during construction of highrise residential towers.

In early 2020, Roni Excavation Ltd. and one of its subsidiaries, Orin Contracting Services Inc., were contracted to conduct excavation and backfilling at a construction site for five residential condominium towers on Yonge Street.

According to a Ministry of Labour court bulletin, on the day of the incident, a worker and their supervisor went to the site to prepare an excavator to move to another construction site but in order for the excavator to be moved, it was necessary to remove its bucket, boom and counterweight to reduce the overall weight of the machine.

The employer was provided with a Manufacturer’s Operation and Maintenance Manual outlining the procedure for safe removal of the counterweight to prevent injury or death which involves engaging the hydraulic system of the excavator. However, the work crew did not use the manual’s procedure and instead backed a truck up to the counterweight to use as a work platform and began removing the mounting bolts.

After three of the six mounting bolts for the counterweight were removed, the supervisor climbed onto the excavator to remove a camera and lights from the machine to prevent damage while the worker continued removing bolts, the court bulletin stated, adding when loosening the sixth bolt, the counterweight fell onto them causing fatal injuries.

Orin Contracting Services Inc. failed to ensure the safety measures and procedures for removing a counterweight from an excavator, prescribed in section 93(3) of O.Reg. 213/91 were followed, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, R.S.O. 1990, c.O.1.

The company was convicted July 15, 2022.

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