Marmora Freezing Corporation fined $150,000 after worker killed

TORONTO: Marmora Freezing Corporation, a Toronto company that packages foods for shipment, was fined $150,000 after a worker was killed during a night shift.

On December 13, 2011, the worker reported to the company facility at 50 Marmora Street for a shift that began at midnight. The worker was a security guard provided by a temporary placement agency.

At the outset of the shift, after 12:15 a.m. on December 14, the worker left the building to smoke. The area designated for employees to smoke was in the travel way on the west side of the building.

At that time, a truck had just pulled a trailer away from a loading dock and was being maneuvered into position to be reversed along the travel way and parked on the north side of the building.

The worker was walking southbound in the travel way. At the same time, a car being operated by a worker at the facility who had just finished the previous shift drove southbound from the north parking area along the travel way. The vehicle struck the walking worker from behind and knocked the worker to the ground. After pausing briefly, the vehicle left the scene. (The driver of the car is presently facing trial on a number of criminal charges.)

Immediately after the car left the scene, the tractor-trailer unit began to reverse northbound down the travel way. The fallen worker was caught by the stiff mud flap behind a rear tire of the trailer and was pushed nearly 100 metres along the travel way. The body was discovered beneath a rear trailer wheel. The cause of death was determined to be crush asphyxia.

The deceased worker was dressed entirely in dark clothing with no light or reflective components. There was no protective barrier or other safeguard to protect pedestrians in the travel way from vehicle traffic.

A Ministry of Labour ergonomist tested the visibility of surroundings for drivers of tractor-trailers. It was determined that a driver would have had sight-line difficulties for an area behind the trailer. It was also determined that illumination in the travel way was inadequate to ensure the visibility of pedestrians.

The company pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker – specifically that it failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that no pedestrians were present in an area where illumination was limited and vehicles in the area had sight-line difficulties.

The fine of $150,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Peter M. Gettlich. 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.