Employer fined $210,000 plus surcharge
Ontario company R.M. Bélanger Limited was fined $210,000 after one of its workers was killed when a wooden telephone pole rolled while it was being loaded with a forklift onto a trailer.
The company was also ordered to pay a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, which will be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
The charge root from a Sept. 17, 2018 incident, when the company was using the parking lot of a golf course in Sudbury to store a number of wooden telephone poles. The employer dispatched a worker with a truck and flatbed trailer to pick up a pole for use on a Bélanger construction site.
When the Bélanger truck pulled into the parking lot, a worker offered to load the required pole for the driver.
Using a machine equipped with a fork attachment, the worker picked up a pole and approached the flatbed trailer. The forks were not spread apart as far as possible, creating instability with the pole as the loader moved. The pole was not secured in any way to the forks.
The truck driver was on the flatbed trailer and had placed a long piece of lumber on the trailer to act as a stopper for the pole. The driver was standing on the other side of the lumber from the side of the trailer approached by the loader.
The operator of the loader tilted the forks forward, dropping the pole onto the flatbed. The pole rolled toward the piece of lumber. The pole had a warp in it, and rolled over the piece of lumber.
The driver, standing on the trailer, tried to jump over the rolling pole but was hit by the pole and was knocked off the trailer. The pole rolled off the trailer, inflicting fatal injuries.
The company was found guilty on Oct. 1, 2020 of two offences: failing to use a safe procedure for loading a pole onto a flatbed trailer; and failing to ensure that no worker was in an endangered position during the loading of a pole onto a flatbed trailer. Both were contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Ontario Health and Safety Act.
Previously, McNally Construction Inc. was fined $200,000 after one of its workers was fatally injured when a mini-excavator being operated in a pipe tipped over. Also, Saskatchewan company Alsport Sales Inc. was fined $35,000 after pleading guilty to a violation for a fatal injury to a worker.