February 11, 2016 by On-Site Magazine
Varcon Construction Co. Ltd. pleaded guilty and has been fined $150,000 after a worker was killed by moving equipment on a roadway.
On April 25, 2014, the company was working on a watermain installation project on a main road in Brampton, Ontario. An excavator was removing material and placing it into dump trucks, which were moving on the road with the assistance of a signaler and a paid duty police officer who was directing traffic. In addition, a traffic control plan was in place which included traffic cones.
An equipment operator was asked to relocate a portable toilet to the same area that work was being done. The equipment operator strapped the portable toilet to the right-hand side of the bucket of a front-end loader and, with the bucket raised, proceeded to travel in live traffic to the intersection 1.4 km away. The operator stopped on the shoulder of the road facing where the toilet was initially to be located and checked in with the crew at this location. The operator communicated with the signaler, who communicated that assistance would be available to stop traffic when the operator wanted to move the vehicle back out again.
The operator was instructed to move the portable toilet to another location, around the corner. The operator observed that traffic and trucks were stopped by the police officer and by the Varcon signaler.
Without contacting the signaler further and after briefly checking visually to one side of the vehicle, the operator moved forward around the corner toward the intended drop-off spot. In doing so the equipment struck, ran over and fatally injured one of the workers on the site.
A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that there was a signaler present in the roadway assisting dump trucks, but the equipment operator did not use the assistance of the signaler when moving forward. It was determined that the manner of moving the portable toilet was unsafe due to the placement and location of the portable toilet in the bucket, which restricted the view of the operator. It was also determined that the fatally injured worker had gone into the roadway to move traffic cones so the equipment operator could move forward around the corner as instructed.
The equipment operator either could not see or did not look in the direction of the worker or communicate with workers before moving forward, striking and fatally injuring the worker.
This violated section 37(1) of the Construction Projects Regulation, which requires that material or equipment at a project be moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.
Varcon Construction Co. Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined $150,000.