Mini-excavator did not have the required cab or screen, which might have protected the worker
McNally Construction Inc., of Hamilton, Ont., was fined $200,000 after one of its workers was fatally injured when a mini-excavator being operated in a pipe tipped over.
The company was required to pay a 25-per-cent surcharge after pleading guilty to the crime. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The charge is rooted in an incident that took place in the company’s head office in Hamilton on June 21, 2018. On that day, a construction crew was working on a construction project in an underground pipe.
A supervisor was operating a mini-excavator that had been lowered down a shaft and into the underground pipe. The diameter of the pipe measured 1.8 meters at that location.
The tip over protection system (TOPS) of the mini-excavator – which protects it from tipping over and can protect an operator from overhead hazards – had been removed prior to it being lowered down and into the pipe. However, it is not known when the TOPS was removed or by whom.
The supervisor decided to operate the mini-excavator. While operating it the supervisor was fatally injured when the front tracks of the machine lifted, causing the worker to be pinned between the top of the inside of the pipe and parts of the mini-excavator.
“Section 99 of the Construction Projects Regulation (Ontario Regulation 213/91) requires that a cab or screen be provided to protect a worker who is exposed to an overhead hazard while operating a vehicle. As such, the defendant failed to ensure that the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the defendant were used as prescribed, contrary to section 25(1)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act,” according to the Ontario government.
“This is a second offence for the defendant under the act. There is one prior conviction from 2013 involving the death of a young worker. The fine imposed on the prior conviction was $170,000 after a plea of guilty.”