Heavy equipment fatality results in $85K fine

Machine overturned while being off-loaded from trailer, crushing worker

Cobra Float Services of Concord, Ont. has been fined $85,000 or the death of a worker. The individual was killed when a machine that was being off-loaded from a float trailer overturned. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.


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 float trailer (a heavy-equipment mover) that was being used had ramps which 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 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 any change in surface height), and the height of the machine was set 10 inches higher than recommended, which increased the height of its centre of gravity and made it less stable.


The company 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."


In this case, a curb machine was moved at a project in a manner that endangered a worker.                       

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour