Ontario Construction News staff writer
A Sudbury-area construction firm has been fined more than $200,000 following the death of a worker in 2018.
Following a trial, Justice of the Peace Kathleen M. Bryant fined R.M. Belanger Limited, based in Chelmsford, $210,000. The incident involved a worker killed at Forest Ridge Golf and Country Club in Chelmsford when a wooden telephone pole rolled while it was being loaded with a forklift onto a trailer, the court heard.
At the golf course, a Bélanger worker, who was also a supervisor, was working on the site.When the Bélanger truck pulled into the parking lot, that worker offered to load the required pole for the driver.
Using a machine equipped with a fork attachment, the worker picked up a pole and approached the flatbed trailer. The forks were not spread apart as far as possible, creating instability with the pole as the loader moved. The pole was not secured in any way to the forks.
According to court documents, the truck driver was on the flatbed trailer and had placed a long piece of lumber on the trailer to act as a stopper for the pole. The driver was standing on the other side of the lumber from the side of the trailer approached by the loader.
“The operator of the loader tilted the forks forward, dropping the pole onto the flatbed. The pole rolled toward the piece of lumber. The pole had a warp in it and rolled over the piece of lumber,” the bulletin says. “The driver, standing on the trailer, tried to jump over the rolling pole but was hit by the pole and was knocked off the trailer. The pole rolled off the trailer, inflicting fatal injuries.”
Bélanger Limited was found guilty on October 1, 2020 of two offences: failing to use a safe procedure for loading a pole onto a flatbed trailer; and failing to ensure that no worker was in an endangered position during the loading of a pole onto a flatbed trailer.