Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine
A Yukon judge has found a tire shop, a trucking company and a supervisor guilty of one workplace health and safety each, in connection with a worker fatality in 2011.
Territorial Court of Yukon judge John Faulkner found Yukon Tire Centre Inc. guilty of failing to develop safe, effective lockout procedures and train workers on the use of those procedures. North 60° Petro Ltd., and supervisor Frank Taylor were found guilty of failing to adequately train a worker on the safe operation of a truck. Ten other charges, including four against Paul Bubiak – part-owner of Yukon Tire – were stayed or dismissed.
The charges stemmed from the death of 34-year-old Yukon Tire technician Dennis Chabot on November 15, 2011. On the day of the incident, a truck operated by North 60° Petro was driven to Yukon Tire’s shop for siping, a process whereby cuts are made across the tire treads to improve traction in slippery conditions, the decision noted on January 29, 2011.
That afternoon, Chabot informed Bubiak that work on the truck was almost finished, be he still needed to torque the wheel nuts. Bubiak got into the truck and started it up so that it would be warmed up and ready to go when the customer arrived. Allan Lelievre from North 60° Petro was assigned to drive the truck back to the company yard.
As Lievre climbed up on the running board, leaned out and looked towards the back of the truck, the view of the passenger side of the truck was partially blocked by the truck frame, the drive axles, the wheels and the mud flaps.
Lelievre saw nothing unusual and drove off. But a short distance later, he looked back in the driver’s side mirror and saw Chabot lying face down on the ground on the passenger side of the truck. The truck had driven over Chabot’s head and upper chest, causing fatal injuries. “Since the vehicle had been started previously and was already running, Mr. Chabot was not alerted to the danger that the truck was about to be put in motion,” Faulkner wrote.
Surveillance cameras revealed that Chabot was not under the truck when Lelievre had gotten into it, but had gone under the truck shortly afterwards to retrieve jacks and a torque wrench.
Faulkner noted that Yukon Tire had no lockout procedures in place. He added that if Lelievre had conducted a walkabout, “he would have seen the jacks and torque wrench.”
Lockout and Tagout procedures are inherent to many sectors of the workforce, be it ‘Industrial’, ‘Construction’, ‘Healthcare’ or ‘Mining’ and every employer MUST have a set of written procedures when the need of lockout and tagout is there. In this case, the employer was not aware of the need and that, in itself, is not acceptable.
If you are an owner or manager of a business then please commit to conducting a hazard assessment for all aspects of your business and place hazard controls for hazards that have been identified. In this case, Lockout and Tagout was needed.
The supervisor MUST also be someone that has been deemed competent. In Ontario, the definition of a competent person is defined as follows;
“competent person” means a person who,
(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.
The key word in this definition is TRAINING. The supervisor needs to be competent as well. It seems that the Territorial Court of Yukon agrees with this assessment.
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.