Waste Management of Canada fined $280,000 after contractor killed at landfill
Health & Safety Contractor Fines Landfill ontario Waste Management of Canada Corporation WMCC
Waste Management of Canada Corporation (WMCC) has been fined $280,000 after a worker was struck and killed by a dump truck at a landfill site in the Ontario Township of Whitchurch-Stouffville.
WMCC is the owner of a landfill site that was previously a municipal waste dump. The company’s permit requires proper grading to prevent surface water run-off and ponding on the waste pile.
To help with this, the company hired Terra Nova Environmental Services Inc. (Terra Nova) to provide environmental remediation and project management. The contract stipulated that Terra Nova was solely responsible for the work of Terra Nova employees and its agents, subcontractors or suppliers. In addition, Terra Nova was to ensure the work was performed in compliance with all applicable laws and WMCC’s operating and safety procedures for the landfill tipping face (area where soil is dumped).
The safely procedures included a ban on walking behind vehicles or heavy equipment, requiring anyone directing traffic to do so away from the tipping floor and path of vehicles or heavy equipment. The procedures also required operators to discuss hand signals with all helpers before starting a two-person backing up process.
On Dec. 9, 2021, a worker provided by a company sub-contracted by Terra Nova was at the dump site performing work as a signaller for dump trucks unloading soil. The job entailed guiding trucks to the tipping face.
That afternoon a truck arrived to dump its load. Contrary to safety procedures, the signaller did not give verbal direction to the driver, instead they left their vehicle, walked up the hill towards the dump location and attempted to guide the driver to the proper location. At this point, the driver reversed up the hill and fatally struck the signaller.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development determined while WMCC had comprehensive safety procedures for the tipping face and there was a contractual agreement that Terra Nova would oversee the project and ensure those procedures were followed, WMCC was also liable, as one of the employers, because it subcontracted the work.
WMCC failed to ensure that the signaller communicated with the truck driver by means of a telecommunication system or, where visual signals are clearly visible to the driver, by means of prearranged visual signals, contrary to subsection 106(3) of Regulation 213/91, violating s. 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Charges were also brought against other companies involved and the driver of the dump truck and those cases are ongoing.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, WMCC was fined $280,000. 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.