December 7, 2020
Convicted: Peter Bransfield of Barry’s Bay, an employee of Aecon Construction and Materials Limited, a developer and constructor of infrastructure.
Location of Workplace: A construction project on Yonge Street between Highway 7 and Major Mackenzie Drive in Richmond Hill.
Description of Offence: A pedestrian was killed after being struck by a pick-up truck being operated in reverse.
Date of Offences: July 11, 2019.
Date of Conviction: December 2, 2020.
- Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice in Newmarket, the defendant was fined $8,000 and given one year’s probation by Judge David S. Rose; Crown Counsel Dan Kleinman.
- The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.
- On July 11, 2019, the defendant, Peter Bransfield, was driving a pick-up truck in reverse on a construction project when he struck and killed a pedestrian.
- At the time of the event, Bransfield had been employed by Aecon Construction and Materials Limited for about one year as a labourer. His assigned task that day was to supply and transport equipment and materials on the construction project.
- The construction project consisted of widening a section of Yonge Street from Highway 7 to Major Mackenzie Drive in Richmond Hill, Ontario. Three of the four southbound lanes were closed to traffic for the construction to take place, with only the easternmost or centre lane remaining open to southbound traffic.
- The Yonge Street sidewalk to the west was also closed to pedestrians. A temporary north/south sidewalk for pedestrians was designated at a location within the closed lanes and construction project with large cones or pylons spaced about eight to 12 feet from one another.
- After work on the project had finished for the day, Aecon workers were removing the easternmost lane closure to reopen it to southbound rush-hour traffic. They were at the intersection of Garden Avenue and Yonge Street and were removing various signs, barricades and equipment.
- Bransfield had been working at the project when he drove the one-ton truck to this intersection to see if they required any help. The truck was equipped with a dump box on the back that largely obstructed the driver’s view within the rear-view mirror.
- Bransfield parked in the closed lane facing south on Yonge Street, just to the west of the temporary sidewalk. He spoke to the other workers who told him that they had removed all of the signage and equipment and were finished work and ready to leave. There was one sign north of the intersection on Yonge Street and Bransfield offered to remove it.
- Bransfield did a circle check around the truck, looked northward and did not see anyone walking on or near the road. There was space to drive the truck forward to turn around; instead, Bransfield reversed the truck in a northbound direction on Yonge Street at about 15 km per hour in the closed lane.
- The truck is equipped with an audible back up alarm and flashing lights on top and it was backed up approximately 100 metres. The evidence does not indicate where the pedestrian entered the construction zone, but at some point did.
- For reasons unknown, the warning signals on the truck did not sufficiently alert the pedestrian to the approaching truck in the closed construction project. Bransfield used the side-view mirrors of the truck to ensure no one was behind him, but did not see the pedestrian, and did not believe any pedestrian would be in the closed construction zone while reversing the truck. The truck struck the pedestrian.
- Emergency services were called and attended but the pedestrian was pronounced deceased on the scene.
- The defendant failed as a worker to work in compliance with section 104(2) of Ontario Regulation 213/91, which states that “vehicles, machines and equipment at a project shall not be operated in reverse unless there is no practical alternative to doing so.” Section 28(1)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act also applies, which states “a worker shall work in compliance with the provisions of this act and [its] regulations.”