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Worker dies in wall collapse, company fined $115,000

Walls of the excavation not supported by ‘any kind of support system’

SMID Construction has been fined $115,000 for the death of a worker during construction of a residential home. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

The construction company was retained by the owner of a two-storey residence to renovate a house in Toronto, including enlarging the garage door and widening the driveway. On Oct. 31, 2016, the task was to pour a new concrete retaining wall under the footing of the existing stairs to the front porch of the house. To do so, an excavation was dug on the side of and underneath the porch. Two workers were in the process of installing wood formwork panels in the excavation, into which the concrete would be poured. One worker was in the excavation during this work.

While the worker was in the excavation the excavated dirt wall under the footing of the stairs, a portion of the footing, and the foundation wall of the stairs collapsed. The worker suffered fatal injuries as a result.

The Ministry of Labour Investigation into the cause of the incident determined that the walls of the excavation were not supported by any kind of support system which would have prevented the walls from collapsing.

Section 234(1) of the Ontario Regulation for Construction Projects (O. Reg. 213/91) prescribes that "the walls of an excavation shall be supported by a support system that complies with sections 235-239."

SMID Construction failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 234(1) of O. Reg. 213/91 were complied with at the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.

Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour

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