$59,000 fines over student welder’s injuries

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An internship went badly for a student at a Welland manufacturing company when they were instructed to start a welding job while wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt over overalls in May 2011. The highly ignitable material caught fire, causing the student second degree burns.

“The student was not supplied with a welding jacket, welding sleeves, neck shroud or flame-retardant clothing,” the ministry report said. “The supervisor did not intervene to make sure the student removed the sweatshirt and had sufficient apparel to prevent injury.”

Just days after the accident, while the Ministry of Labour was investigating, an inspector saw another worker in the same workplace not wearing apparel sufficient to prevent injury while welding. The worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt and only one welding sleeve.

CRS Specialties Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a competent person was appointed as supervisor and supervisor Chad Corriveau pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury while welding.

The company was fined $55,000, while Corriveau faces a person fine of $4,000.

Failure to provide adequate protection has cost two other companies $70,000 each.

Yukon manufacturer Algoma Tubes Inc. was fined after two workers suffered burns while servicing an electrical panel in Sault Ste. Marie. The accident in July 2011 happened when one worker came in contact with the 480-volt panel, causing an arc flash.  

A Ministry of Labour investigation found Algoma Tubes failed to ensure the workers used rubber gloves, mats, shields or other protective equipment and procedures adequate to ensure protection from electrical shock and burns while performing the work.

Ottawa housing projects builder Tega Developments Inc also faces a $70,000 fine for a June 2011 violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured while installing handrails on a staircase. The worker fell more than five metres and sustained “several injuries” according to Ministry of Labour reports.

The ministry investigated and found workers on the site were not adequately protected from falling as required by construction regulations. A number of guardrails were missing, the injured worker had not been equipped with a fall protection system and there were no danger signs warning workers of hazardous openings.

A 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge applies to all the fines.

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