Blog Post #1001 – Wind Turbine Maker fined $60,000 After Worker Falls, Is Struck by Moving Machinery

Blog Post #1001 – Wind Turbine Maker fined $60,000 After Worker Falls, Is Struck by Moving Machinery

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Siemens Wind Power Ltd. has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker fell from a weigh scale and then was struck by a moving loader.

The company, formerly operating as Siemens Canada Limited, has a head office at 1577 North Service Road East in Oakville and is a manufacturer of wind turbine blades at a plant at 1 Clearview Drive in Tillsonburg, Ontario.

On July 13, 2015, a worker at the plant was injured after falling from a wind turbine blade which was situated on a weigh scale. The blade had been lifted onto the weigh scale by means of a loader equipped with a c-clamp. The c-clamp had been hooked to the blade, and the loader lifted the blade on to the weigh scale. Once the weighing had been done, the worker attempted to unhook the c-clamp by climbing up inside the blade (which is hollow) while balancing on the perimeter rim into which the hook is placed. This method was used because a ladder would not fit between the loader and the weigh scale.

The worker lost balance and fell approximately six feet to the floor. At that point, the loader operator got out of the loader to help the worker, not realizing the machine was still in gear. The loader rolled forward and struck the fallen worker, who suffered multiple injuries as a result.

Siemens Wind Power failed to take the reasonable precaution of providing a work platform or other surface from which a worker could work while attaching or unhooking a c-clamp from the root end of wind turbine blades. This is contrary to section 25(2)(h) and to section 66(1) of the act.

A fine of $60,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Woodstock court on June 16, 2017.

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.

My opinion

Siemens Wind Power was found guilty of a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Siemens Wind Power was also found guilty of a contravention of the same Act (OHSA) section 66 which states,

(1) “Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with,

(a) a provision of this Act or the regulations;

(b) an order or requirement of an inspector or a Director; or

(c) an order of the Minister,

is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $25,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months, or to both.

(2) If a corporation is convicted of an offence under subsection (1), the maximum fine that may be imposed upon the corporation is $500,000 and not as provided therein.

Was a JHA (job hazard assessment) completed before the operation took place? Was the supervisor directly involved in the tailgate meeting and/or was there one provided?

Too many questions and not enough answers.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

 

 

Dan
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