After a dramatic and tragic incident in which a large drill rig
fell over at York University, fatally injuring a backhoe operator
and badly injuring an excavator operator, the company that owned
and operated the rig has been found guilty of an offense under the
Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The court described the company as "reputable and
responsible", showing that even safety-oriented companies can
be found guilty of OHSA offences if they do not have rigorous
processes in place to ensure safety and avoid accidents.
The accident took place in October 2011 on the TTC subway
extension project at the university.
The court held that the company had failed to ensure that the
soil base under the drill rig was capable of safely supporting the
weight of the large drill rig.
The Ministry of Labour called a "world-renowned"
engineer, who was an expert in soil conditions, to testify. He
testified that the most likely reason that the drill rig fell over
was that the pressure that the drill rig exerted on the ground
exceeded the weight-bearing capacity of the ground.
The court further found that there was no evidence that the
company took any steps to confirm that the platform on which the
drill rig was operated could support the drill rig in accordance
with its specifications for stability, and no record of the company
confirming that the ground had been prepared sufficiently to
support the rig.
The company has not yet been sentenced for the offence, so the
fine is not yet known.
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