Worker Pulled Into Traffic and Injured, Employer Fined $50,000
Convicted: Liqui-Force Services (Ontario) Inc., 2015 Spinks Drive, Kingsville, Ontario, a company that operates a no-dig, pipeline rehabilitation service and offers complete pipeline system inspection, assessment, rehabilitation and maintenance.
Location: A worksite on O'Neil Street (a residential street) in Chatham, Ontario.
Description of Offence: A worker received critical injuries after being pulled into moving traffic by a cable.
Date of Offence: February 28, 2017.
Date of Conviction: February 27, 2018.
- Following a guilty plea in Chatham court, Justice of the Peace Elizabeth M. Neilson fined the company $50,000; Crown Counsel Katherine Ballweg.
- 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.
- Liqui-Force was contracted by Henry Heyink Construction Ltd. to perform relining work on existing municipal sewer piping in place under O'Neil Street in Chatham.
- A worker employed by Liqui-Force received life-threatening injuries when cable that was unwinding was caught and pulled by a passing vehicle.
- The injured worker was unravelling the cable from one winch located at one access cover (manhole) and pulling the cable toward another access cover down the street.
- Other workers indicated that they regularly set up two separate work areas. In this instance both work areas - which included a work truck close to an access cover - were surrounded by orange cones that caused traffic to drive around the area. However, the distance between these two areas was several hundred feet and required the worker to pull the cable out from the winch this entire distance. There was no protection from passing traffic while the worker was between the two areas, and the street was open to public traffic.
- As the worker was walking and unspooling the cable, it formed a loop on the roadway. The cable lying on the road was snagged by a vehicle traveling north between the two project areas. The worker was holding one end of the cable and was flung backwards onto the road by the moving vehicle becoming attached to the cable.
- While Liqui-Force did have a traffic protection plan in place, the plan failed to ensure there was adequate protection from vehicular hazards while the cable was being unspooled between the two protected areas.
- As such Liqui-force failed to comply with section 67(5) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 (the Construction Regulation) as required by an employer contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This section of the regulation states that there must be a written traffic protection plan in place that informs workers about vehicular traffic hazards and the measures that will be used to protect them.