Ottawa concrete company fined $140K after worker killed during demolition of foundation wall
Health & Safety Concrete Fines ottawa workplace fatality
An Ottawa-based concrete company has been fined more than $140,000 after a worker was killed during the demolition of a foundation wall.
The incident happened on Jan. 25, 2021, in Ashton, Ont. — a town located about 50 kilometres southwest of Ottawa.
Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd. was subcontracted by a home building company to perform foundation work for a new residential dwelling. After the work was completed, the home builder noticed that the foundation was off measurement and notified the sub-contractor.
After inspecting the issue, the sub-contractor and the home builder determined that at least three foundation walls needed to be removed to fix the problem.
Following this, the sub-contractor directed two of its workers to use a saw to make cuts in the foundation in order to remove the problematic sections of the wall. The subcontractor also directed an excavator operator employed by the home builder to knock down the cut sections of wall using the excavator.
During the cutting process, the belt on the saw broke and the owner of Bacic Forming Concrete left the job site to get it repaired.
Prior to leaving the project, the owner directed the two workers to use crowbars and hammers to loosen concrete around the window to remove and salvage the window frame.
The workers determined that a more effective method would be to ask the excavator operator to tap the wall with the excavator bucket to loosen the concrete or crack the seal around the window.
Believing that the two workers were clear of the wall after repositioning the excavator cab, boom and bucket, the operator tapped the interior of the wall with the excavator bucket, causing the entire wall to collapse.
Unbeknownst to the operator, one of the workers was still in the excavation and sustained fatal injuries from the collapsing wall.
At no time did the employer designate a signaler, or a person with a clear view of the area near the wall, to communicate hazards to the excavator operator, whose visibility was reduced by physical obstructions and the glare of the sun.
Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd. failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 214(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, were carried out, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Bacic Forming Concrete Ltd., was fined $115,000. The court also imposed a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total to $143,750. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
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