Equipment Sales & Service Ltd. fined $100,000 in death of worker

TORONTO: Equipment Sales & Service Ltd., a company providing maintenance services and parts for heavy equipment and machinery, pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 in the death of a worker at its Etobicoke facility.

On June 3, 2013, two workers were tasked with conducting repairs to a malfunctioning truck crane. The two had developed a system whereby one would work on the crane while it was stopped, then step away to a safe distance clear of the crane’s swing path while the other worker would operate the malfunctioning throttle and swing the crane upper – the portion of the crane located above the crane deck.

The operator/worker began to swing the crane upper after observing the other worker standing clear of the swing path. While it was swinging, the operator lost sight of the other worker, who was next seen lying on the crane deck beneath the crane counterweight. Help was called but the worker was pronounced dead. It was apparent that the worker had been in the vicinity of the transmission pit on the crane deck when the crane body swung, striking and pinning the worker. The worker suffered head injuries.

The subsequent Ministry of Labour investigation concluded that the crane operator’s sight lines to the crane deck and the ground would be either fully or partly obstructed during certain orientations of the crane, resulting in blind spots or obstructed views. Similarly, the worker on the ground would periodically lose eye contact with the crane operator depending on the position of the worker and the crane upper.

Equipment Sales & Service Ltd. pleaded guilty to a breach of Section 56 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851), which states that when an operator of equipment does not have full view of the intended path of travel, there must be a signaller directing the activity.

The company was fined $100,000 by Justice of the Peace Andrew C. Clark at the 70 Centre Street court on March 5. In addition to the fine, the court 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.