A crane rental company has been convicted of charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and fined, after criminal negligence charges against it were withdrawn.
In 2009, a worker was killed after a crane owned by Millenium Crane Rentals Ltd. rolled into an excavation and pinned the worker to the wall.
The Ministry of Labour’s news release states that Millenium Crane was found guilty of failing to maintain the crane in a condition that would not endanger a worker. A Ministry of Labour inspection had found that the crane was in a state of disrepair. In particular, parts of the braking system were found to be broken and deteriorated, including seized calipers and worn out brake pads and drums. The crane had only 25% brake function in its four rear wheels and only 31.25% in its four front wheels.
Interestingly, the Ministry of Labour’s press release states that, “The Crown, however, could not prove that the lack of maintenance on the crane caused the crane to roll into the excavation and fatally injure the worker.” It was likely for that reason that the criminal prosecutors dropped the criminal negligence charges – often referred to as “Bill C-45” charges – against the worker.
This case is a reminder that the OHSA and criminal charges are not the same and involve different requirements. The fact that criminal prosecutors drop charges does not mean that the company will be able to successfully defend against OHSA charges.