Court Bulletin - Guelph construction company fined $200,000 after death of worker

    KITCHENER, ON, Aug. 26 /CNW/ - Cox Construction Limited of Guelph was
fined $200,000 on August 20, 2008, in connection with the death of a worker at
a road construction project in Cambridge.
    On September 14, 2005, while supervising the removal and grinding up of
tree parts and other debris, a worker was struck and injured by an excavator,
dying in hospital later that day. Just before the incident, the worker had
approached a machine that grinds trees, stumps and roots to get a better view
of its operation. One of the excavator operators noticed the worker, made eye
contact and signalled an intention to move a log into the grinder. The
operator thought the worker understood and proceeded to move the excavator
into position. A scream was heard and the operator looked around and saw the
worker underneath the excavator's right track. The operator reversed the
excavator off the worker.
    The incident occurred at a roadway construction project to extend the
Can-Amera Parkway from Conestoga Boulevard to Hespeler Road in Cambridge.
    A Ministry of Labour investigation found the grinder's noise prevented
workers from hearing one another. A combination of eye contact and hand
signals was a normal method of communication between workers, but there was no
adequate standardized system of communication. As a result, the excavator
operator and deceased worker were unable to communicate with each other with
the degree of certainty needed to ensure the deceased worker's safety.
    The court found that the company had not ensured that an adequate,
standardized system of communications between workers was established and
maintained. The court also found that the company failed to ensure that the
excavator operator was assisted by a signaller.
    Cox Construction was found guilty at trial on May 15, 2008, of failing,
as a constructor, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by
section 104(3)2 of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were carried out at the project.
The company was also found guilty of failing, as an employer, to take every
precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker,
contrary to section 25(2)9h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
    A fine of $100,000 on each of the two counts was imposed by Justice of
the Peace J. DeJong of the Ontario Court of Justice. In addition, the court
imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge, as required by the Provincial
Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government
fund to assist victims of crime.


                        Court Information at a Glance

    Location:          Ontario Court of Justice
                       77 Queen St. N., Ctrm No.101
                       Kitchener, Ontario

    Judge:             Justice of the Peace J. DeJong

    Date:              August 20, 2008

    Defendant:         Cox Construction Limited

    Matter:            Occupational Health and Safety Act

    Crown Counsel:     Daniel Kleiman


    Disponible en français


For further information:

For further information: Media contact: Bruce Skeaff, Ministry of
Labour, (416) 326-7405

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