Fatality at high-rise construction site results in $125,000 fine for Concord company

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

Orin Contracting Services Inc., of Concord has been fined $125,000 after pleading guilty in the Ontario Court of Justice.

According to court documents, during construction of high-rise residential towers on Feb. 28, 2020, a worker was fatally injured when a thirteen-ton counterweight from an excavator fell on him. Orin Contracting Services Inc. “failed to ensure the safety measures and procedures for removing a counterweight from an excavator,” Justice M. McLeod stated in a July 15 ruling.

In early 2020, Roni Excavation Ltd. and one of its subsidiaries, Orin Contracting Services Inc., were contracted to conduct excavation and backfilling at a construction site for five residential condominium towers.

A worker and a supervisor went to the site to prepare an excavator for movement to another construction site on Feb. 28.

“In order for the excavator to be moved, it was necessary to remove its bucket, boom, and counterweight to reduce the overall weight of the machine,” the court report stated. “The employer was provided with a manufacturer’s operation and maintenance manual, which outlined the procedure for safe removal of the counterweight to prevent injury or death.”

The noted procedure involves engaging the hydraulic system of the excavator, but the work crew did not use the manufacturer’s specified procedure. Instead, they backed a truck up to the counterweight to use as a work platform and began removing the mounting bolts.

According to details in the court ruling, three of the six mounting bolts for the counterweight were removed, the supervisor climbed onto the excavator to remove a camera and lights from the machine to prevent damage. The worker continued removing bolts, and when loosening the sixth bolt, the thirteen-ton counterweight fell onto them causing fatal injuries.

“Orin Contracting Services Inc. failed to ensure the safety measures and procedures for removing a counterweight from an excavator,” Justice McLeod ruled.

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