|A roundup of important new legislation, regulations, court cases and board rulings that we covered in 2013 in the OHS Insider newsletter.
LAW OF THE YEAR
Awareness Training Regulations
In Dec. 2012, the MOL proposed a regulation that would require employers to ensure that all workers and supervisors complete mandatory OHS awareness training, which would apply to everyone who meets the definitions of “worker” and “supervisor” under the OHS Act and to all workplaces covered by the Act. The final regulation was expected to be released in July 2013 but it hasn’t been released yet.
CASE OF THE YEAR
Appeals Court More Than Triples Fine in Christmas Eve Scaffolding Case
On Christmas Eve, four workers were killed when scaffolding collapsed. Another was seriously injured. In June 2012, their employer pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death under the Criminal Code as amended by Bill C-45 and was fined $200,000. Its president pleaded guilty to four OHS violations and was fined $90,000. The government appealed the company’s fine. The Ontario Court of Appeal increased the fine to $750,000, ruling that the lower court placed too much emphasis on what the company could afford to pay. Although the company’s economic viability was one of the factors to be considered, it wasn’t the most important one. Because it pleaded guilty to criminal negligence, the Court was required to considered the 10 factors spelled out in Sec. 718.21 when sentencing it. Based on these factors and the circumstances of the offence, the $200,000 fine was “manifestly unfit” because it didn’t deliver a message on the importance of worker safety. So the Court concluded that a $750,000 fine was a “fit fine in the circumstances” [R. v. Metron Construction Corp.,  ONCA 541 (CanLII), Sept. 4, 2013].
1. $1.05 Million
Two underground mine workers died from massive injuries after being struck by a sudden and uncontrolled release of muck, sand and water. The mining company pleaded guilty to three safety violations and was fined $350,000 for each violation for a total fine of $1,050,000 [Vale Canada Ltd., Govt. News Release, Sept. 17, 2013].
A worker was injured after a machine ejected a plastic bale and pinned him against a nearby forklift. The court convicted two companies of guarding and training violations. It fined them a total of $410,000 [Unitec Inc. and 629728 Ontario Ltd., Govt. News Release, July 26, 2013].
A company that makes rail transportation systems was fined $140,000 each for two separate safety incidents:
A worker fell into the hopper of a machine, which was in operation, and died. The part-owner of the company pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to a safety violation. The court fined him $12,000 [Pasta Quistini Inc. and Orlando Quistini, Govt. News Release, June 21, 2013].
The owner of a company was fined $8,000 after a lamp post struck overhead power lines. No one was hurt. But the MOL found that the company didn’t have written procedures for the placement of the posts or provide adequate training on working with overhead power lines [Network Site Services Inc. and Donald Medeiros, Govt. News Release, April 19, 2013].
A truck driver stopped under a silo, believing that the truck was in the correct place. But it was in the wrong position and asphalt began releasing onto the truck’s cab, caving it in. He suffered severe injuries. During the MOL’s testing of the photo sensors, a worker turned off the sensor bypass to the silo without the inspector’s knowledge or permission. The worker pleaded guilty to altering the scene without the inspector’s permission and was fined $6,000 [1648133 Ontario Ltd. and Colin Martin, Govt. News Release, Nov. 15, 2012].
A student working for a company was welding when his sweatshirt ignited and caught fire, causing second degree burns. A supervisor pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect him from injury while welding and was fined $4,000 [CRS Specialties Inc. and Chad Corriveau, Govt. News Release, April 9, 2013].
5. $3,000—Supervisor; $2,000–Worker
At a construction site, a supervisor assigned workers to move a fly table to an upper floor. While it was being hoisted, it became unbalanced and slid to the ground. No one was hit by it. A supervisor and worker pleaded guilty to a safety violation. The court fined the supervisor $3,000 and the worker $2,000 [Paramount Structures Ltd., Luis Pavao and Carlos Cordeiro, Govt. News Release, May 23, 2013].
Court Explains When You Must Report Injuries to Non-Workers
A guest at a ski resort was found drowned in the facility’s unguarded, indoor swimming pool. The resort didn’t report the fatality to the MOL because the victim was a guest, not a worker. A safety inspector cited the resort for violating the reporting requirements. The Ontario Labour Relations Board ruled that the incident reporting requirements applied to the guest’s death. But the Court of Appeal found this ruling to be unreasonable. It concluded that an employer must report a non-worker’s death or critical injury only when:
It Was Foreseeable Workers Would Climb Guardrail to Access Conveyor
A worker went to clear a jammed sawmill conveyor belt by climbing over a guardrail on a catwalk, standing on a motor guard and poking at the jam. A piece of wood came up and knocked him off the motor guard and to the floor below. As he wasn’t wearing fall-arrest equipment, he was injured. The sawmill appealed its conviction, arguing that the court’s conclusion that it was foreseeable that workers would climb over the catwalk’s guardrail was unreasonable. The appeals court noted that, at trial, three workers testified that sometimes they had to climb over the guardrail to clear a jam and that they were never told not to do so. In addition, there was evidence that jams were frequent and sometimes required workers to access the conveyor to clear them, but there was no safe work procedure for this process nor were workers trained on the use of fall protection when doing so. Thus, the appeals court found that the trial court’s ruling was reasonable [R. v. Tembec Inc.,  ONSC 4278 (CanLII), June 24, 2013].
Companies Convicted of OHS & Environmental Charges for Propane Explosions
After a worker filled a small propane truck with propane from a bigger truck and while a co-worker was filling cars with propane, there was a series of explosions that killed the co-worker. Two companies were charged with OHS violations; the companies and two corporate officers were also charged with environmental offences. The court concluded that the risk of an explosion during propane transfers was foreseeable but the defendants didn’t exercise due diligence to prevent it. In addition, in an inherently dangerous business such as this one, the court explained that there must be a high degree of attention to detail and processes, particularly instructing, training and supervising the workers handling “this very dangerous fuel,” which the defendants didn’t provide. And there was no system in place to ensure that the facility complied with the requirements of the Technical Standards and Safety Act. Thus, the court convicted them on the safety and environmental offences [Ontario (Ministry of Labour and Ministry of the Environment) v. Sunrise Propane Energy Group Inc.,  ONCJ 358 (CanLII), June 27, 2013].
Company & Directors Didn’t Exercise Due Diligence as to Nip Hazard
A worker was injured when his hand came into contact with an unguarded pinchpoint near a hopper. The company and two directors were convicted of OHS violations and appealed. The appeals court upheld the convictions. The uncontroverted evidence showed that the hopper set-up gave workers access to an unguarded in-running nip hazard. A company policy of using foam sticks to clear jams in the hopper didn’t negate the need for a guard. And there was insufficient training on that policy, resulting on workers using their hands to clear jams. In short, the appeals court agreed that neither the company nor its directors exercised due diligence as this hazard [Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. Pack All Manufacturing Ltd.,  O.J. No. 5311, Nov. 6, 2012].
Company Didn’t Exercise Due Diligence as to Task of Unclogging Silo
A driver positioned a truck underneath a silo and began to transfer wood shavings from the silo into the truck box. He was working alone. Two workers later went to the silo but couldn’t find the driver, who was eventually discovered buried under the shavings in the truck box. He died from his injuries. The driver’s employer was convicted of two OHS offences. The evidence showed that when the material in the silo clogged, the standard procedure was for the worker to stand near the opening and poke at it until the material fell. But the company’s safety materials didn’t warn of the danger of the falling material or tell workers to stay away from the silo opening. Thus, the company didn’t exercise due diligence to protect workers performing this inherently dangerous task [R. v. Reliable Wood Shavings Inc.,  ONCJ 518 (CanLII), Sept. 18, 2013].
Arbitrator Shoots Down Pre-Access Mandatory Drug & Alcohol Testing
A union challenged a company’s requirement that contractors comply with its drug and alcohol standard, which requires universal mandatory drug and alcohol testing before workers may have access to its worksites. The union argued that the testing violated the collective agreement and human rights law. The arbitrator balanced the interests of safety at these safety-sensitive worksites and privacy rights. He noted that there was no evidence of drug or alcohol issues at the worksites. So there was no demonstrable need for the pre-access alcohol and drug testing sufficient to justify the significant invasion of privacy inherent in such testing, concluded the arbitrator [Mechanical Contractors Association Sarnia v United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices Of The Plumbing & Pipefitting Industry of the United States and Canada, Local 663,  CanLII 54951 (ON LA), Aug. 20, 2013].
Excessive to Fire Worker for Using Cell Phone in Violation of Policy
A worker was fired for using his cell phone on the manufacturing plant floor and in an oil shed during work hours and in violation of safety policy, which barred workers from using such devices in the plant. The union claimed termination was excessive. The arbitrator noted that two years prior the worker had been given a verbal warning about using his cell phone in the plant. In the recent incidents, he played a game on his phone while in the plant and then was seen talking on the phone while in the oil shed after getting a text from his wife. The worker knew that using the phone in the plant violated policy. But the policy wasn’t clear that using cell phones was barred in the oil shed, too. And the supervisor didn’t make it clear to the worker that he could face serious discipline for violating this policy. Given his 22 years of service and remorse, the arbitrator concluded that a 10 shift suspension and reinstatement without back pay was appropriate [PGI Fabrene Inc. v. International Assn. of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, Local Lodge 2922 (Montgomery Grievance),  O.L.A.A. No. 378, Sept. 16, 2013].
Two LOTO Violations Within Three Months Didn’t Justify Firing
A millwright failed to follow lockout/tagout (LOTO) procedure, which was a “cardinal” rule, when changing a flow valve. Instead, he disconnected the electrical wires from the valve. The wires touched, causing sparks and an electrical short. The employer fired him because it was his second such infraction within three months (he got a one-day suspension for the first). And he’d only been an employee for five months. But an arbitrator reinstated the millwright. He was aware of the rules and had been trained on LOTO procedure, which he’d followed on other occasions. He’d acknowledged his error and said it wouldn’t happen again. No one was hurt and no damage was caused by his albeit serious safety infraction. In short, he’d exercised poor judgment to get the work done in a timely manner. The arbitrator ordered him suspended without pay for about six months and ordered the employer to provide additional LOTO training to him. The arbitrator added that, if he committed another safety infraction within a year of reinstatement, the employer would have just cause to fire him [Dufferin Concrete v. Teamsters Local No. 230,  CanLII 61486 (ON LA), Oct. 1, 2013].
Worker Was Fired for Making Justifiable Safety Complaints about Truck
A probationary worker made numerous safety complaints about his company truck, including that it was “kicking” and “slipping” in third and seventh gear; the steering was loose; the mirrors were cracked and off-angle; part of the dashboard had been removed; there were exposed wires; and fuel was leaking. He told the employer that the truck was unsafe to drive and refused to do so. The company’s general manager fired him. The worker filed a reprisal complaint. The Labour Relations Board ruled that the worker reasonably believed that the truck was unsafe and even had photographs to prove it. It also ruled that his firing was motivated, at least in part, by his work refusal, especially given that it happened almost immediately after he refused to drive the truck. So the Board ordered the employer to pay 20 weeks’ back pay plus an additional four weeks’ pay in damages [Barber v. LP Services,  CanLII 9952 (ON LRB), Feb. 26, 2013].
Failure of Ductwork Wasn’t a Foreseeable Hazard, Says Court
A foundry hired a company to remove equipment. While doing so, one of the company’s workers was seriously injured when a large section of ductwork fell on him. The company was convicted of failing to ensure the ductwork was adequately supported while being dismantled. It appealed and argued due diligence, claiming that the collapse wasn’t reasonably foreseeable. The appeals court agreed. It found that the collapse was caused by a buildup of sand in the ducts and a poor weld. The evidence showed that such buildup not only shouldn’t have happened but also couldn’t have been expected. Witnesses also testified that it wasn’t practical or reasonable to inspect all of the welds in the ducts, noting that it would’ve taken years to do so. So there was no basis on which to conclude that the collapse was “a foreseeable risk,” concluded the court. And because the collapse wasn’t foreseeable, the charge had to be dismissed [R. v. Rassaun Steel & MFG. Co. Ltd.,  ONCJ 705 (CanLII), Nov. 14, 2012].
Due Diligence Doesn’t Require Taking All Conceivable Steps
As workers were laying concrete piping at a construction site, a wooden brace in a winch system snapped and struck a worker, killing him. A company was charged, as a constructor, with failing to ensure that the wooden brace was designed and constructed to resist the force likely to be exerted by the winch cables. The court found that the company had exercised due diligence. It had relied on manufacturer instructions and industry standards when designing and constructing the wooden brace. The court rejected the argument that the company should’ve also involved a professional engineer in designing this equipment. The issue was whether the company took all of the care that a reasonable person might have been expected to take in these circumstances. “All reasonable care” doesn’t require a defendant “to take each and every precaution that would be reasonable to take in the circumstances,” noted the court. Yes, the company could’ve consulted with engineers, put gauges on the device or used a steel structure instead of a wooden one. But for various reasons, a reasonable person wouldn’t, in all of the circumstances, have been expected to do so [R. v. Thomas Fuller and Sons Ltd.,  ONCJ 731 (CanLII), Nov. 23, 2012].
Ontario City Prevails in OHS Prosecution for Death of 14-Year-old Girl
In 2009, a 14-year-old girl was in a public bathroom at a city park. When she tried to climb onto a changing table that was attached to a concrete privacy wall, the wall collapsed on her, causing fatal injuries. The government charged the city with OHS violations. The Ontario Court of Justice dismissed the charge, ruling that the prosecution had failed to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the city didn’t ensure that the wall was capable of supporting all loads to which it may be subjected, without causing its materials to be stressed beyond the allowable unit stresses established under the Building Code Act. The Building Code Act abandoned the term “allowable stress units” in 1997, although the OHS Act continued to refer to this concept until 2011. So the court concluded that Sec. 25(1)(e) didn’t apply to the circumstances of this case because, as the law read in 2009, it incorporated by reference a standard that didn’t exist at the time of the bathroom’s design and construction. The court added that the city reasonably relied on the professional stamps of the architect and engineer as evidence that the plans for the bathroom’s construction complied with all legal requirements and had taken all reasonable steps to avoid the incident [The City of Guelph, Justice Epstein, Feb. 12, 2013].
Conviction of Hatchery for Worker’s Fall from Trailer Upheld
A worker at a hatchery fell and broke her leg while climbing out of a storage trailer. The trailer had portable steps, the top of which was two feet lower than the trailer’s floor. The hatchery was convicted of violating the general duty clause of the OHS Act by failing to provide adequate egress from the trailer. The appeals court dismissed the appeal, ruling that the steps used were too low and inadequate for this purpose and that a two foot gap between the top step and trailer was “self-evidently unsafe.” By supplying workers with a set of steps that was too short to access the storage trailer, the hatchery failed to take every precaution reasonable in those circumstances for the protection of its workers [MOL v. Stratford Check Hatchery Ltd.,  ONCJ 47 (CanLII), Jan. 30, 2013].
Contractor, Supervisor & Company Official Convicted of OHS Violations
A worker fell off a roof more than three metres high and was paralyzed from the waist down. At the time, there was no fall protection equipment on site. And the injured worker said he’d never gotten training on the use of such equipment. The MOL charged the contractor as an employer and a female employee as a supervisor with OHS violations. The court ruled that the female employee qualified as a supervisor under the OHS laws as there was ample evidence she had “hands-on authority” and directed work. It also found that the Crown had proven the OHS violations against the contractor and supervisor beyond a reasonable doubt. And the court convicted a company official of obstruction for refusing to provide information requested by an inspector [Ontario (Ministry of Labour) v. J.R. Contracting Property Services,  ONCJ 202 (CanLII), April 18, 2013].
Court Refuses to Dismiss Safety Charges Against Bankrupt Company
The MOL charged a company with various safety violations for two separate safety incidents, one which involved a fatality. While the proceedings on these charges were pending, the company filed for bankruptcy. The company asked the court to dismiss the OHS proceedings, arguing that if it was convicted, the only remedy available against it would be monetary (such as a fine) and it was insolvent. Plus, it couldn’t afford to defend itself against the safety charges. The court noted that the company hadn’t been convicted yet and so possible fines weren’t an issue at that point. And it had a choice whether to defend itself against the safety charges. In addition, the MOL wasn’t acting as a creditor because it’s actions were regulatory or prosecutorial in nature. So the court refused to dismiss the OHS proceedings [Terrace Bay Pulp Inc. (Re),  ONSC 5111 (CanLII), Aug. 9, 2013].
Nurse’s Request for Reimbursement for Safety Footwear Fails
A registered nurse bought safety boots and asked the employer to pay him $100 as reimbursement for their cost. The hospital refused, noting that nurses aren’t required to wear safety footwear when performing their normal duties. The union filed a grievance. The arbitrator said the collective agreement clearly provides for reimbursement for workers only when “safety footwear is required.” Safety shoes aren’t required for nurses nor is there any evidence that they should be required, such as a history of foot injuries. Thus, the nurse wasn’t entitled to reimbursement [Waypoint Centre for Mental Health v. Ontario Public Service Employees Union, Local 329,  CanLII 34402 (ON LA), June 12, 2013].
Driver Fired for Refusing to Lift Bins that Were Overloaded
A driver for an auto parts store refused to lift overloaded bins on several occasions, telling the supervisor they were too heavy for one person to safely lift. The third time, the supervisor got angry and told the driver to leave. A week later, he was suspended for four days, ostensibly because he failed to report that his truck’s tires were bald. The employer then reduced his hours and finally terminated him. The driver claimed illegal reprisal in retaliation to his raising safety issues about the heavy bins. The Labour Relations Board agreed, noting that the driver had correctly exercised his right to refuse unsafe work. He then suffered three separate adverse consequences. The Board concluded that these consequences were based on his refusal rather than poor work performance [Wilken v. Hotspot Auto Parts,  CanLII 72730 (ON LRB), Nov. 19, 2012].
Proper Supervision Doesn’t Require the Continual Presence of a Supervisor
A young worker at a car wash drove a vehicle into a bay, causing a chain of collisions that injured a co-worker. The worker had been told twice by a manager not to drive any vehicles, just clean them. At the time, there were no supervisors on hand. The car wash was convicted of two OHS violations, including failing to provide proper supervision. The trial court said the worker should’ve been “contemporaneously supervised at all times.” But the appeals court overturned the convictions. The OHS law doesn’t require a supervisor always to be present for every task a worker does, which would be “absurd.” And because it wasn’t the worker’s job to drive and there was no reason for the car wash to foresee that he would do so, it didn’t have to provide him with information, instruction or supervision on the safe operation of vehicles [R. v. 679052 Ontario Ltd. (c.o.b. Auction Reconditioning Centre),  ONCJ 747 (CanLII), Nov. 30, 2012].
Repeated PPE Infractions Justified Worker’s Termination
An employer issued a warning to a worker who it had employed for 37 years for failing to be clean shaven, which interferes with proper respirator fit. The next day, it issued him another warning for failing to wear a hardhat, safety glasses and mask in the plant. It also reminded him to be clean shaven by the start of his next shift. But the following day, he wasn’t clean shaven and didn’t wear his respirator. So the employer fired him. The union said termination was excessive. But an arbitrator disagreed. The worker was insubordinate and didn’t offer any explanation for his behaviour. His misconduct was wilful, despite clear warnings and ample opportunity to comply with the safety rules. Given the worker’s disciplinary record and these last infractions, the arbitrator concluded that there was no reason to believe that, if reinstated, he’d return to the workplace as a productive safety conscious employee respectful of the company’s reasonable health and safety expectations [Tonolli Canada Ltd. v. United Steelworkers,  CanLII 15108 (ON LA), March 2, 2013].
Employer’s Safety Concerns about Worker’s English Proficiency Were Reasonable
An employer asked a union for eight electricians. A manager interviewed one and determined that his English proficiency wasn’t sufficient for him to work safely on the job. So it refused to hire him. The union filed a grievance. The arbitrator noted that the electrician had previously worked for the employer for four weeks. The manager had contacted the person who’d been responsible for him at the time but that person didn’t really remember him. The arbitrator said the manager should’ve then spoken to the people who’d worked directly with the electrician at that time, but he didn’t. However, the arbitrator refused to order the employer to hire the electrician and pay him damages. In addition, if the manager had spoken to those who’d worked with the electrician before, he’d have learned that the electrician was assigned to a worker who also spoke Mandarin, which is the language they used on the job. So although the employer’s investigation into the electrician’s English proficiency could’ve been more thorough, its safety concerns about him were ultimately reasonable [Hydro One Inc.,  O.L.R.D. No. 4251, Nov. 22, 2012].
OK to Fire Worker Who Was a ‘Simmering Ball of Negativity’
A city worker was fired after making somewhat menacing comments about cleaning his gun and hunting; while on duty yelling at protesters to “get a f%^*ing job”; saying “the only good wop is a dead wop”; and driving a city vehicle the wrong way down a street. The union challenged his termination. But the arbitrator disagreed with the union’s assessment that the worker was just “eccentric,” instead characterizing him as a “simmering ball of negativity.” These events, which occurred over 10 days, warranted discipline and, in light of his disciplinary record, termination [Windsor (City) v. Canadian Union of Public Employees, Local 543,  CanLII 40522 (ON LA), July 4, 2013].
Violation of Lock Out Rule Didn’t Justify Supervisor’s Firing
One of a manufacturer’s “cardinal” rules was that machinery must be locked out when workers worked on it. A supervisor failed to lock out machinery while trying to fix it. The workers he supervised reported his violation and he was fired. He sued, claiming termination was excessive. The court agreed that a supervisor should be held to a higher standard than a worker and that the infraction was serious. But it didn’t endanger anyone else. And the supervisor had an otherwise good record. Thus, termination without notice or payment in lieu of notice wasn’t justified, ruled the court [Plester v. PolyOne Canada Inc.,  O.J. No. 365, Jan. 28, 2013].
Three Incidents Result in $250,000 Fine for Steel Manufacturer
A steel manufacturer pleaded guilty to three OHS violations and was fined:
Company Fined $175,000 after Worker Drinks Mislabelled Hazardous Substance
Two workers were washing trucks and trailers at a beer store distribution centre. One of them found a liquor bottle filled with methanol windshield washer fluid. But the bottle still had the liquor label on it. Both workers drank from the bottle; one took the bottle home and finished it. He later died from methanol poisoning. The company pleaded guilty to failing to acquaint a worker with a hazard in the handling, storage or use of a liquid chemical agent. The court fined it $175,000 [Brewers Retail Inc., Govt. News Release, Feb. 15, 2013].
Construction Company Fined $170,000 after Worker’s Head Is Fatally Crushed
A worker was using a battery-powered locomotive to move debris in a tunnel to the exit for removal. When the locomotive stopped, a supervisor disconnected the cars from it so it could reach the exit and get a fresh battery. The worker’s head was raised between the locomotive battery and part of a steel gantry when the locomotive moved forward, crushing his head and killing him. An MOL investigation found that the gantry wasn’t safe for use with that locomotive. The company pleaded guilty to a safety offence and was fined $170,000 [McNally Construction Inc., Govt. News Release, Aug. 21, 2013].
Road Constructor Fined $170,000 after Loader Struck & Killed Worker
A road constructor was installing sewer and water main connections. The driver of a front-end loader went to retrieve dirt from a work area and take it to a stockpile. While backing up, the loader fatally struck a worker who was crossing the street. The constructor pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a vehicle wasn’t operated in reverse when there was a practical alternative to doing so and was fined $170,000 [Coco Paving Inc., Govt. News Release, Jan. 17, 2013].
Electric Company Fined $150,000 after Bus Struck Workers
Two workers were repairing a broken beacon on a cement median between four lanes of traffic. There were no traffic control measures in place. One worker was in the bucket of a boom truck extended over a lane of traffic next to the median; the other was standing on the median. A bus struck the boom. The worker on the median was hit and killed by the bus and the bucket as it fell to the ground. The other worker was injured. The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a traffic protection plan was in place. The court fined it $150,000 [Stacey Electric Company Ltd., Govt. News Release, Nov. 21, 2012].
Two Safety Incidents Result in $130,000 Fine for Mining Company
A mining company was fined a total of $130,000 for two separate safety incidents. In the first, a worker at the company’s metal precipitation plant slipped on a chemical (floculante) and fell, suffering broken bones. In the second case, three workers were conducting repair and maintenance on an ore crusher in an area of the mill where a cyanide solution tank was located. One worker inadvertently stepped into a hole that wasn’t visible because the area was covered with a few inches of dirty water. The hole contained water, sodium cyanide and sodium hydroxide. His boot filled with the liquid, causing cyanide poisoning and chemical burns [Wesdome Gold Mines Ltd., Govt. News Release, Sept. 18, 2013].
Worker’s Fatal Fall Costs Developer $125,000
Workers employed by a sub-contractor were installing limestone at a construction site when one of them fell from the scaffold system to the ground and died. The scaffold system was at a height of more than 2.4 metres above ground. The MOL found that the scaffold didn’t have a guardrail system to prevent access to the perimeter. The developer pleaded guilty to failing, as a constructor, to ensure that every employer and worker performing work on the project complied with Sec. 26.3(1) of Regulation 213/91 and was fined $125,000 [VHL Developments Inc., Govt. News Release, June 5, 2013].
$120,000 Fine Imposed for Worker’s Burns & Failing to Comply with Order
A worker at a dairy manufacturer’s facility was sanitizing a pipe system by running heated water through the pipes. After he hooked up the pipes and turned on the system used to clean them, he noticed that not all the pipes were getting hot. So he shut the system off and dissembled two connecting elbows. A third elbow flew off and leaked hot water on him, causing first and second degree burns. The MOL found that the pipe system didn’t have its direction of flow positively identified. In fact, the company had failed to comply with an inspector’s order requiring it to identify the direction of flow. The manufacturer pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the direction of flow was positively identified on the pipe system and to comply with an inspector’s order. The court fined it $120,000 [Parmalat Canada Inc., Govt. News Release, Jan. 23, 2013].
Constructor Fined $115,000 for Death of Worker Crushed by Platform
A constructor was building bridge decks on a highway at a river. Precast concrete bridge spans had been installed and workers were pouring liquid grout into the joints. A worker on an elevated work platform under the bridge decks was sealing leaks. The work platform overturned, killing the worker. The constructor pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the elevated work platform was used only on a firm, level surface and was fined $115,000 [Teranorth Construction & Engineering Ltd., Govt. News Release, Jan. 24, 2013].
Manufacturer Convicted in Scissor Lift Incident & Fined $110,000
A worker for a manufacturer of vehicle exhaust systems was operating a scissor lift to perform maintenance on a ventilation system when the lift tipped over. He suffered a broken arm and head injuries. An MOL investigation found that a tire on the lift drove into an opening in a coolant collection trough, causing the machine to tip over. A court convicted the manufacturer at trial, finding that it failed to ensure that the worksite floor was free from the obstruction or hazard of an uncovered opening and that a grate for the trough was secured in place. It fined the manufacturer $110,000 [Wescast Industries Inc., Govt. News Release, Sept. 27, 2013].
Failure to Prevent Movement of Casings Results in Fatality & $110,000 Fine
A worker was acting as signaler for a crane unloading drill casings from a truck. Three large, cylindrical casings were stacked on the ground in a pyramid. The bottom two casings weren’t chocked to prevent movement. While a fourth casing was being unloaded from the truck, the top casing in the pyramid fell between the two casings holding it up, pushing the bottom casings outward. One of those casings rolled and hit the fourth casing that was still suspended by the crane, which struck and killed the signaler. The company pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the bottom row of the pyramid of casings was chocked or wedged to prevent motion and was fined $110,000 [ECA Canada Co., Govt. News Release, March 6, 2013].
Employer Fined $100,000 for Worker’s Fatal Fall Through Skylight
A worker walking backwards on a roof tripped on the flashing of a skylight and fell through it about 5.5 metres to the concrete floor below. He died from his injuries. The MOL found that there were no guardrails around the skylights and the skylights themselves didn’t constitute a protective covering over openings in the roof. In addition, the workers weren’t wearing or using any form of fall protection. The employer pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a guardrail or protective covering was used to prevent workers from falling through the skylights and was fined $100,000 [APCO Industries Co. Ltd., Govt. News Release, March 21, 2013].
Traffic Control Violation Costs Employer $100,000
Two workers preparing to install an automatic traffic counter activated their work vehicle’s warning lights, stopped in the passing lane, opened the doors and began to prepare their equipment. An approaching pickup truck struck the work vehicle, causing it to spin and strike one of the workers. He died from his injuries. The MOL found that the employer failed to ensure the flow of traffic was appropriately controlled with the use of a sign truck equipped with a flashing arrow and properly positioned ahead of the work vehicle. The employer pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 [Pyramid Traffic, Govt. News Release, Aug. 19, 2013].
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