The incident took place on 18 April 2016 at Sousa Ready Mix Inc's premises in Glenburnie, north of Kingston in Ontario. A worker was in the process of cleaning the outlet hose of a concrete pump truck. The process typically involves inserting a ‘priming ball’ into the hose and running the pump in reverse to clean it out. In this case the ball became stuck and the worker, along with two others, was instructed to deal with the stuck ball.
The three workers used an air compressor to force air into the hose in order to clear the ball.
During a third attempt, the first worker released a clamp from the discharge nozzle of the air compressor without first releasing the pressure from the air compressor. The supply hoses and fittings of the compressor were propelled into the ground and the discharge hose struck the first worker, who suffered several injuries.
An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the compressor was being used while the ‘whip check' component of the compressor was not installed. The ‘whip check’ could have prevented the hose from releasing and striking the worker. As such, Sousa failed as an employer to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that whip check connectors or other adequate restraining devices were available and used, contrary to the Occupational Health & Safety Act.
The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge, which is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.