OHS Canada Magazine

Demolition company fined nearly $90K after worker killed while dismantling grain silo

Avatar photo

May 17, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Chatham Demolition fall from height Fines ontario Worker Fatality

Photo” Adobe Stock

An Ontario demolition company has been fined nearly $90,000 after a worker was killed in a fall during the dismantling of a grain silo in Chatham, Ont.

On July 19, 2021, James Curran Expert Removal & Excavating Limited was engaged in the demolition of an old building previously used as a grain silo.

The building was a two-storey steel framed building with metal cladding. The structural steel skeleton consisted of several different platforms at various heights. The upper-most platform contained two old hoppers, various pipes and structural walls, all of which needed to be removed.

At the time of the incident, the worker was on a platform that had holes in the floor and unguarded openings around three sides, approximately 7.62 metres above the ground.

The worker was using an oxy-acetylene torch to cut pieces of structural steel components that would then be rigged to a crane, which would lower the pieces.


The worker was in the process of removing an old hopper, working off a ladder placed beside the hopper on the platform. While making a cut, one half of the hopper dropped suddenly and fell to the platform, causing the worker to fall off the ladder, over the edge of the platform, to the ground below. The worker, who was not protected by any method of fall protection, suffered fatal injuries.

James Curran Expert Removal & Excavating Limited failed, as an employer, to ensure that where a worker is exposed to a fall of over three metres, and it is not practicable to install a guardrail, the worker shall be adequately protected by a method of fall protection, as required by section 26.1(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 and contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $70,000. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total to $87,500. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.


Stories continue below