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Worker Dies in Wall Collapse, Company Fined $115,000

Court Bulletin

Worker Dies in Wall Collapse, Company Fined $115,000

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: SMID Construction Ltd., a general construction contractor, 460 Finley Avenue, Ajax, Ontario.

Location of Workplace: A residence on Pine Crescent in Toronto.

Description of Offence: A worker was killed when an excavated dirt wall collapsed due to lack of support.

Date of Offence: October 31, 2016.

Date of Conviction: June 21, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $115,000 in Toronto court, 70 Centre Avenue, by Justice of the Peace Chris Triantafilopoulos; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.
  • 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.

Background:

  • SMID Construction Ltd. was retained by the owner of a two-storey residence to renovate the house, including enlarging the garage door and widening the driveway.
  • On October 31, 2016, the task was to pour a new concrete retaining wall under the footing of the existing stairs to the front porch of the house.
  • To do so, an excavation was dug on the side of and underneath the porch. Two workers were in the process of installing wood formwork panels in the excavation, into which the concrete would be poured. One worker was in the excavation during this work.
  • While the worker was in the excavation the excavated dirt wall under the footing of the stairs, a portion of the footing, and the foundation wall of the stairs collapsed. The worker suffered fatal injuries as a result.
  • The Ministry of Labour Investigation into the cause of the incident determined that the walls of the excavation were not supported by any kind of support system which would have prevented the walls from collapsing.
  • Section 234(1) of the Ontario Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91) prescribes that "the walls of an excavation shall be supported by a support system that complies with sections 235-239."
  • SMID Construction failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 234(1) of O. Reg. 213/91 were complied with at the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.

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