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Concrete structure collapsing onto excavator, trapping worker leads to fine for Ontario company


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December 6, 2019 by On-Site Staff

A workplace incident that left an excavator operator buried in rubble for several hours has led to a $65,000 fine for an Ontario company.

1481410 Ontario Ltd., which was doing business as SL Marketing, was carrying out demolition project at the former Kraft Paper Mill in Thunder Bay, Ont. in November 2017 when the incident occurred.

As part of the demolition process, crews had drilled holes and set off explosives in three concrete structures at the site. These test blasts did not bring the structures down, the Ministry of Labour noted. Several days later, an excavator equipped with a pulverizer was brought in to “soften” the concrete walls of the buildings before more explosives could be placed to topple the structures.

While the excavator operator was softening the concrete walls, an approximately 65-foot section collapsed on top of the machine, trapping the worker. After several hours the worker was freed and taken to hospital with a non-life threatening injury.

A subsequent investigation determined the company had trained its workers on the demolition process, but that an assessment of the site, required after the test blasts were carried out, had not been completed.

The Orillia, Ont.-based company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure proper procedures were carried out on-site in a Thunder Bay court Nov. 22.