Blog Post #379 – KD Farm Services Fined $80,000 after Worker Killed

Blog Post #379 – KD Farm Services Fined $80,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

1126449 Ontario Inc., operating as KD Farm Services, was fined $80,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On October 22, 2009, several workers from the company were catching and crating chickens at a farm in the Municipality of West Perth. As the workers loaded the crates from the barn onto a trailer, the trailer was moved forward to allow room for more crates. At one point after the trailer had been moved, a worker was found crushed to death under its rear wheels.

A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that the supervisor moving the trailer did not have a driver’s license or the required commercial vehicle license.

1126449 Ontario Inc., operating as KD Farm Services, was convicted of failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the operator of the moving vehicle was competent and/or properly licensed.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Thomas Stinson. In addition to the fine, the court 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.

The law(s) broken,

KD Farm Services was found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 2(h) of the OHSA which states,

“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”

My opinion,

Every person seems to do whatever he/she wants to do until someone gets hurt or killed. This particular case has every aspect of the operation uncontrolled and the possibility of a worker getting killed was a very real possibility.

The company, supervisor and employees, should have made a game plan of the operation, working out all the potential hazards that can be recognized and allow some type of control plan to deal with the hazards.

I wonder how the supervisor and employer did not understand only ‘Competent’ operators, as defined by the OHSA, are allowed to operate certain vehicles. Did they NOT see the danger here?

Apparently not!

It my feeling here that KD Farm Services was very fortunate not to have received a more substantial fine. I can think or numerous sections not used here. Section 27 of the OHSA covers the safety responsibilities of the supervisor and there is an Ontario regulation 414/05, ‘Farming Regulations’ that could have been a source to locate other particular associated hazards and find ways to deal with them.

A death in the work place should be worth more than $80,000 (plus the 25% victim fine surcharge) issued in this case. How else can we ensure our workplaces become safer if we send such a weak message to employers? At the very least, we should have given a stern warning, from the government level, that health and safety in the workplace is mandatory and the lack thereof will not be tolerated.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRSGroup Inc.

Dan
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