Lumber mill fined $80,000 in death of driver

The lumber mill had no security measures in place such as warning signs or barriers that would protect workers.
The lumber mill had no security measures in place such as warning signs or barriers that would protect workers. (Photo: iStock)

A recent Ontario case should serve as a cautionary tale that the Occupational Health and Safety Act requirements to protect employees are not just window dressing.

A delivery driver who was employed by a shipping company was in the process of delivering lumber for a lumber company when he was killed.

The driver was told to drop the lumber off in the yard and one of the lumber mill company’s employees would unload the logs. The employee then drove a forklift to the truck and began to unload the lumber from the driver’s side. While the driver was rolling up the straps that were holding the lumber in place, a bundle of logs loosened and fell on him.

To give an idea what the impact of the logs falling on the driver would be, one bundle alone weighed 6,000 pounds.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

Could this senseless death have been prevented?

The lumber mill had no security measures in place such as warning signs or barriers that would protect workers in the yard where they were exposed to traffic. Such security measures are mandated by section 20 of Ontario’s Industrial Establishment Regulation, which are housed under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The death of the driver may have been prevented had such safety measures been in place.

The company pleaded guilty and the court hit the company with an $80,000 fine, plus a 25 per cent victim fine surcharge, which goes to a fund to help victims of crime.

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