Transport company fined $140,000 following workplace fatality

August 7, 2023

Following a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Brampton, Ontario, Vitran Express Canada Inc. has been fined $140,000 over the death of a worker following an incident in November 2021. The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

The court heard that, on 4 November 2021, a security guard was working the night shift at a warehousing and distribution facility that included a storage yard for trucks to deliver and remove trailers for shipping products. Among the security guard’s duties were monitoring truck access to the facility and applying and removing “glad hand locks” to prevent or facilitate the movement of trailers parked in the facility yard.

A shunt truck tractor and driver supplied by Vitran Express Canada Inc. were also present to move trailers within the facility yard.

At around 6.20am, the shunt driver advised security that a trailer needed to be moved in the yard. The driver moved the shunt truck into position to back up to a trailer.

The security guard attended and walked to the trailer to remove the glad hand lock. The area immediately around the front end of the trailer was dark when the guard, who was not wearing high visibility reflective clothing, arrived at the trailer connection. The shunt truck driver did not see the security guard enter the area near the trailer.

The shunt truck reversed. The security guard was caught between the truck and the trailer and suffered fatal injuries.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation determined that neither the shunt truck’s audible back-up alarm nor its reversing spotlights were functioning.

By failing to ensure that the back up alarm and back up lights on the truck tractor were functional, Vitran Express Canada Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure that a truck tractor provided was maintained in good condition, contrary to section 25(1)(b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

This is valid as of 7th August 2023.

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