OHS Canada Magazine

Newmarket, Ont.-based company fined $93,000 after worker killed by forklift during construction of apartment building

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October 10, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Construction Fines Forklift workplace fatality

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A Newmarket, Ont.-based construction company has been fined more than $93,000 after a worker was killed by a forklift during the construction of an apartment building — underscoring the importance of having a signaler assist when vehicles don’t have clear lines of sight.

2671475 Ontario Inc., the constructor of an apartment building on Cemetery Road in Uxbridge, Ont., subcontracted the erection of retaining walls to an excavation and site servicing company.

The job entailed moving pallets of blocks with a forklift designed for movement on rough terrain. The machine had a telescoping boom with a forklift attachment.

On Nov. 30, 2021, a worker, employed by the subcontractor, asked the forklift operator, who was employed by the defendant, to move four pallets of blocks from the front of the project to the rear.

After dropping the fourth pallet at the rear, the forklift operator proceeded to reverse the machine back to the front of the project.


To provide signaling assistance, the contract worker moved to the right side of the forklift, then stepped closer to the machine’s rear wheels to ensure the operator could see their hand signals.

Shortly after, the operator lost sight of the contract worker in the passenger sideview mirror and immediately stopped the machine.

Although there were no witnesses to the incident, the evidence appears to show the worker slipped on snow and mud, falling under the wheel of the moving vehicle.
The worker was fatally injured.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development determined the forklift’s right-side mirror had limited visibility due to its positioning and blockage by the machine’s boom and hoses. As the operator did not have a clear view of the path of the machine’s travel, it was required that a signaler assist.

Contrary to the signaler requirements of the Regulation, the contract worker was not in full view of the forklift operator and was not clear of the intended path of the machine’s travel.

By failing to provide a signaler, as outlined in section 104(3) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, 2671475 Ontario Inc. violated section 23(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, 2671475 Ontario Inc. was fined $75,000. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total fine to $93,750. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.


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