On-Site Magazine

Fatal hydraulic coupler accident in Oshawa results in fine for Ontario contractor

October 16, 2020   By On-Site Staff

A Concord, Ont.-based civil contractor faces a $125,000 fine following a fatal workplace accident just east of Toronto.

Last month, Orin Contractors Corp. pleaded guilty to violating health and safety rules after a supervisor was killed in a hydraulic coupler accident in summer 2018.

According to the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development, the incident occurred when a new hire was running an excavator equipped with a hydraulic coupler on a municipal project in Oshawa, Ont. After detaching and improperly reattaching a bucket weighing about 2,700 pounds, the worker swung the bucket over a trench where the supervisor was working. The bucket fell off the excavator, crushing the supervisor and inflicting fatal injuries.

An investigation found no mechanical defects and determined the worker’s failure to properly safety check the attachment was the cause of the incident. The ministry also found the worker was not familiar with the proper procedure and spoke a different language than the user manual.


The Occupational Health and Safety Act stipulates employers are responsible for ensuring equipment is used “in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.”

Orin pleaded guilty in a Oshawa courtroom Sept. 21. It faces a $125,000 fine, plus the customary 25 per cent victim surcharge.

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