Construction company fined $75K in forklift fatality

Worker was runover and forklift side mirror had limited visibility

Construction company fined $75K in forklift fatality

A construction company in Newmarket, Ontario, operating under 2671475 Ontario Inc., has been fined $75,000 following a workplace fatality that occurred on November 30, 2021, at a construction site in Uxbridge. The incident involved the construction of retaining walls for a four-storey apartment building.

The incident took place at 164 Cemetery Road in Uxbridge, Ontario. During the construction, a worker, employed by a subcontractor, asked the forklift operator, who worked for the company to move four pallets of blocks. The forklift operator dropped the fourth pallet at the rear of the project and began to reverse the machine back to the front.

To assist with signaling, the contract worker moved to the right side of the forklift and stepped closer to the machine's rear wheels to ensure the operator could see their hand signals. However, the operator lost sight of the contract worker in the passenger sideview mirror and immediately stopped the machine.

Unfortunately, the contract worker had slipped on snow and mud, falling under the wheel of the moving vehicle, resulting in a fatal injury. While there were no witnesses to the incident, an investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development revealed that the forklift's right-side mirror had limited visibility due to its positioning and blockage by the machine's boom and hoses.

According to safety procedures outlined in the Occupational Health and Safety Act, a signaler should have been present to assist in such situations. However, in this case, the contract worker was not in full view of the forklift operator and was not clear of the intended path of the machine's travel, contrary to the regulations.

In addition to the $75,000 fine imposed on 2671475 Ontario Inc., a 25 percent victim fine surcharge was applied, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. This surcharge will contribute to a special provincial government fund designed to assist victims of crime.

The incident serves as a reminder of the importance of adhering to safety procedures and providing proper signaling assistance to ensure the safety of workers on construction sites.