On-Site Magazine

Contractor fined $125K for worker killed in truck rollover near Sudbury, Ont.

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November 21, 2019 by On-Site Staff

The province has fined Teranorth Construction & Engineering Ltd. $125,000 for an unusual incident involving a malfunctioning braking system that left one worker dead.

The Sudbury-based contractor had completed a culvert and bridge rehabilitation project near Elliot Lake on Highway 639 and was returning equipment to Sudbury. According to the Ministry of Labour, one worker, a vehicle technician who held a DZ license, was tasked with driving a fuel truck and a water truck back to the Northern Ontario city. The fuel truck was returned without incident, but on Oct. 13, 2017, the worker was killed after losing control of the water truck and jumping from the vehicle.

A short distance from the work site, a passerby saw the water truck rolling backwards down a large hill and weaving. The driver was then seen jumping from the vehicle, hitting the ground and rolling as the truck continued backwards into the bank and flipped. The driver was transported to hospital, but was pronounced dead from injuries suffered in the fall.

A subsequent investigation determined the truck’s Hydro-Max Booster braking assist system, which is designed make it easier for a driver to press down on the brake pedal when the truck’s primary power source is lost, was not working. The booster had not been tested before the driver left the work site, despite inspecting the hydraulic brake system being among the items on the pre-departure daily trip inspection report.

A Ministry of Labour engineer concluded: “The failed electric motor would have been detected if the operator’s manual, which explains how to test the electric back-up, had been followed.” The company had not instructed the driver how to carry out the test or provided the instruction manual.

The company pleaded guilty to violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to provide adequate information and supervision.

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