Worker Killed, Employers Fined Tens of Thousands

Burnaby construction accident

Thursday, October 11 was a terrible day for the Canadian construction industry as one worker was killed in British Columbia and employers in Ontario were dealt tens of thousands of dollars for two separate and unrelated earlier accidents, one of which also resulted in a fatality.

In a tragic incident under investigation by WorkSafe BC, a construction worker was killed and another injured on Thursday morning when a retaining wall collapsed at a North Burnaby site in Vancouver.

Media reports say the men, whose names had not been released at the time of writing, were laying pipe for J. Cote and Sons Excavating Ltd at around 11 am when the 40-foot wall toppled down onto them.

They were taken to Vancouver General Hospital, where one of the workers died from his injuries.

On the same day, two employers were fined tens of thousands of dollars for earlier incidents.

In one of the incidents, the Ontario Court of Justice fined Mike Valley, owner of a demolition and salvage business, $25,000 following the death of one worker and injury to another following a roof collapse at a demolition project at a private home in Oro-Medonte.

The workers, who were in the process of removing a dilapidated mobile home from the property, had removed the interior paneling and aluminum siding when the roof suddenly collapsed on them.

Burnaby construction accident

Already damaged at the start of the project, the structural integrity of the home had been further diminished by the removal of its interior walls and exterior cladding during demolition.

Valley pleaded guilty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure than the home was demolished systematically from the highest to lowest point.

In an unrelated incident, the same court fined Hamilton construction company Bermingham Construction Limited $65,000 and a supervisor was fined $4,000 for an incident in which a worker was injured when refueling a mobile crane at the company’s Hamilton facility.

The employee was injured after falling from the crane after the lid of a fuel tank fell on his hand after he had climbed onto the crane and opened it.

Bermingham was convicted of failing to ensure that the fuel tank lid was secured during refueling.

In both cases, an extra 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, which goes toward a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime, was added to the fines as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

Though unrelated, each of the incidents serves as a timely reminder about the need to observe best practice standards with regard to safety on construction sites.

By Andrew Heaton
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