On-Site Magazine

Northern Ontario contractor fined after worker killed by rolling telephone pole

March 2, 2021   By On-Site Staff

A contractor based in Chelmsford, Ont. — just outside Sudbury — has been fined for a worker death on a job site in September 2018.

Following a trial last fall and sentencing Feb. 26, R.M. Bélanger Ltd. was found guilty and fined $210,000, plus the province’s customary 25 per cent victim surcharge, for an incident involving a forklift, a telephone pole and a flatbed trailer that left the truck’s driver dead.

Working in a parking lot near Sudbury, where the company stored a number of wooden telephone poles, the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development said a supervisor operating a forklift was attempting to load one of the poles onto a company trailer.

The truck’s driver had placed a piece of lumber on the trailer to stop the telephone pole from rolling once it had been dropped, and was standing on the opposite side of the trailer. When the forklift operator tilted the forks and the pole began rolling, however, a warp in the wooden pole allowed it to roll over the lumber stopper toward the driver. The driver attempted to jump over the telephone pole, but was knocked off the trailer. The pole also fell over the trailer, leaving the driver with fatal injuries, the province said.

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The construction company was found guilty of two offences: “failing to use a safe procedure for loading a pole onto a flatbed trailer; and failing to ensure that no worker was in an endangered position during the loading of a pole onto a flatbed trailer.” Both are violations of the Ontario Health and Safety Act.


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