It’s all too easy to send workers to complete tasks without properly considering the risks, but the failure to take the time to assess a workspace or job can have tragic consequences for your employees. The Ministry of Labour’s recent decisions reinforce the message that if a company’s focus isn’t on their employee’s safety, they’ll face hefty financial consequences.
Brampton company 1648133 Ontario Ltd., operator of Furmar Dixie Road, a Mississauga facility that produces asphalt, was fined $150,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. An employee of the company, Colin Martin, was fined $6,000 in relation to the same incident.
The fine related to an incident in June last year when a driver arrived to pick up six tons of asphalt. He was seriously injured when procedures at the site resulted in the asphalt releasing onto the cab of his truck. The driver yelled for help, was pulled from the truck and suffered severe injuries. There were no signals to indicate that the truck was in the wrong position.
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The company plead guilty to failing to ensure that the silo was guarded or shielded to prevent its asphalt from endangering a worker. The company also plead guilty to failing to provide the driver with adequate information, instruction and supervision regarding the asphalt loading process. It was fined $75,000 for each offence.
The Ministry of Labour personnel found a system of photo sensors intended to prevent the release of asphalt if a truck was not lined up correctly was not working. Company employee Martin told the inspector there was a control box that would allow the sensors to be bypassed. He had turned off the sensor bypass to the silo without the inspector's knowledge or permission.
Colin Martin plead guilty to altering the scene without the inspector's permission to do so.
Two other Ontario companies were fined smaller amounts in cases last week. London manufactuer Canduct Industries Limited was fined $60,000 after two workers were injured in separate incidents last year.
In April 2011 a worker suffered hand injuries after material he was cutting with a table mounted router kicked back, sliding the worker’s hand into the blade. The router did not have a guard to protect the worker from its moving blade. In October a different worker at the same facility was operating a table saw that was also not equipped with a guard. The worker passed a piece of material over the moving blade and it kicked back, causing the worker's hand to slide into the blade. The worker suffered hand injuries.
Canduct Industries Limited pled guilty to two counts of failing to ensure that a machine was properly guarded to prevent access to its moving parts and was fined $30,000 for each offence.
Finally, Mississauga’s Maple Reinders Constructors Ltd was fined $55,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured when a concrete form workers were installing tipped over, pulling down a worker who was tied to it. It turned out a bracing rod usually left in place had been removed and then replaced.
All three companies also faced a 25% victim fine surcharge credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.