Highway Construction Accident on Highway 11/17 in April 2022
Sudbury, Ontario – A Sudbury-area firm, Consbec Inc. of Val Caron, has been convicted of a health and safety offence following a serious incident on a highway construction worksite near Thunder Bay, Ontario. The incident occurred when a drill rig tipped over, critically injuring a worker.
The Provincial Offences Court in Thunder Bay rendered its decision on December 11, finding that Consbec Inc. failed to ensure that the worker had received adequate information, instruction, and supervision regarding the safe operation of the drill rig. This violation is contrary to section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
The construction site in question was located on Highway 11/17 in Dorion Township. On April 29, 2022, Consbec was contracted to contribute to the expansion of the highway.
During the operation, one worker was operating a drill rig to create a series of boreholes in the ditch for rock blasting. Unfortunately, the worker positioned the drill rig on uneven ground, with the tracks slightly extending over a small embankment. Subsequently, the worker moved between the rig and a rock shoulder.
As the worker extended the boom of the drill rig and set the mast upright, the rig toppled forward due to the uneven terrain, striking the worker. Notably, the worker’s immediate supervisor had briefly left the ditch to return equipment to a nearby storage unit on the same project site at the time of the incident.
Consbec pleaded guilty to the OHSA offence, and Justice of the Peace Nancy Tulloch imposed a fine of $125,000 on the firm. This conviction serves as a reminder of the importance of ensuring workplace safety and providing adequate training and supervision to prevent such accidents in the future.