Vitran Express Canada Inc fined $140K in death of security guard

Worker was crushed by truck that didn't have back-up alarm and reversing spotlights

Vitran Express Canada Inc fined $140K in death of security guard

Vitran Express Canada Inc., operating as National Fast Freight, has been fined $140,000 after a worker died at a warehousing and distribution facility in Brampton, Ontario.

The incident happened during the early morning hours of November 4, 2021. A security guard was responsible for monitoring truck access to the facility and the guard was responsible for applying and removing "glad hand locks" to prevent or facilitate the movement of trailers parked in the facility yard.

At approximately 6:20 a.m., a shunt truck tractor and driver provided by Vitran Express Canada Inc. were also present on site to move trailers within the yard.

The shunt driver informed the security guard that a trailer needed to be moved in the yard, prompting the driver to reverse the shunt truck towards the trailer. The security guard, who was not wearing high-visibility reflective clothing, walked to the trailer to remove the glad hand lock.

The area around the front end of the trailer was poorly lit, and the shunt truck driver was unaware of the security guard's presence near the trailer. During the reversing maneuver, the security guard got caught between the truck and the trailer, resulting in fatal injuries.

A subsequent investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development revealed that the shunt truck's audible back-up alarm and reversing spotlights were non-functional at the time of the incident.

According to the press release issued by the Ministry, Vitran Express Canada Inc. failed to ensure that the truck tractor used in the facility had a functional back-up alarm or back-up lights, violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

As a result of these findings, the court held Vitran Express Canada Inc. accountable for failing to ensure that the back-up alarm and back-up lights on the truck tractor were operational. This failure constituted a violation of section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires employers to maintain equipment in good condition to protect the safety of workers.

In addition to the $140,000 fine, the court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge will contribute to a special provincial government fund aimed at assisting victims of crime.