OHS Canada Magazine

Construction firm fined $100K after worker injured by broken rope at vertical life bridge

Avatar photo

March 14, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Burlington Construction Fines

The Burlington Canal Lift Bridge in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Photo: Adobe Stock

An Ontario company has been fined $100,000 after one of its employees was critically injured while working on the Burlington Canal Vertical Lift Bridge.

On July 6, 2016, workers employed by the K-Line Maintenance and Construction Ltd. were working at the bridge. A rope being used was attached to a tensioner-puller machine to pull an aerial cable over the span of the bridge.

When this pull rope broke, the sudden release of tension caused the cable to rush backward over the span critically injuring a worker.

The company, based in Stoufville, Ont., had established a standard operating procedure for the pulling operation that was successfully used on previous days at the site.

On the day of the incident, a site supervisor instructed workers to vary from the standard operating procedure used for the pull without seeking approval from the Company.
This variance resulted in a worker being required to stand in a dangerous area for longer than necessary under the standard operating procedure.


Contrary to the rope manufacturer’s manual, the site supervisor did not instruct the workers to increase the safety factor of the rope when they were exposed to the hazard in question (for example, by using a stronger pull rope), nor did the supervisor take other steps to protect the workers in the event of an unanticipated rope failure.

Section 93 (3) of Ontario Regulation 213/91: Construction Projects requires that all vehicles, machines, tools and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.

Accordingly, the Company failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 93 (3) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 were carried out contrary to section 25 (1) (c) of the Occupational Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $100,000. The court also 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.


Stories continue below