Worker Caught in Rubble, Company Fined $65,000 in Thunder Bay District
Convicted: 1481410 Ontario Limited carrying on business as SL Marketing, PO Box 836, 25 Peter Street, Orillia, Ontario.
Location of Worksite: The former Kraft Paper Mill at 1 Baker Road, Red Rock, in the Thunder Bay District in northwestern Ontario.
Description of Offence: A worker suffered a non-life-threatening injury when a concrete structure collapsed on top of the worker's excavator.
Date of Offence: November 14, 2017.
Date of Conviction: November 22, 2019.
- Following a guilty plea, Justice of the Peace Jennifer Neill fined 1481410 Ontario Limited $65,000 in provincial offences court in Thunder Bay; Crown Counsel Tom Schneider.
- 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.
- 1481410 Ontario Limited (SL Marketing) was conducting a demolition operation/construction project at the former Kraft Paper Mill in November 2017.
- After site orientations were performed, workers drilled holes into columns in three concrete structures on site. Explosives were inserted into those holes, and they were detonated as test blasts. The test blasts were performed under the direction of a supervisor.
- The blasts did not bring the structures down, and the site was then left for several days to settle. Following that, on November 14, 2017, an excavator with an attached pulverizer was brought to the site. The operator was instructed to "soften" one of the structure's walls using the pulverizer. The intention was that after the walls had been softened, a further blast would be set off to bring the structure down.
- The worker began softening the walls, and the approximately 65-foot concrete structure collapsed on top of the excavator. The worker was trapped in the excavator's cab for several hours, buried under rubble. He was later freed, taken to hospital and suffered a non-life-threatening injury.
- The (then) Ministry of Labour investigated the incident and determined that even though the company had trained its workers in how to perform demolition work, a second assessment had not been performed following the initial test blast to determine the building's structural integrity as required by the procedures.
- As a result, the company did not provide an appropriate safeguard in the circumstances to prevent injury to a worker (that is, a second structural assessment).
- This contravened section 212(1)(b) of the Construction Projects Regulation (Regulation 213/91) and the company failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.