Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

TKPL & Associates Ltd., operator of a grocery store in Sundridge, ON, was fined $80,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On February 4, 2011, a worker at the grocery store was arranging items on shelves while standing on a stepladder. To reach the top shelf, the worker had to stand on the top cap of the ladder, which was not intended as a step. While working from the top cap the worker lost balance and fell to the floor, suffering a fatal head injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that it was common practice in the store for workers to stand on the top cap of this type of stepladder to reach shelves. However the stepladder was not appropriate equipment for the task given the workers’ need to stand on the top cap.

TKPL & Associates Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of providing appropriate equipment to reach shelves for the protection of a worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Marcel Bedard. 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

TKPL and Associates were found guilty of violating section 25, sub-section 2(h) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

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

TKPL and Associates obviously did not have a set of safe work instructions to deal with. Anyone in their right mind knows not to stand on the top of a step ladder. In fact, the manufacturer would recommend the second or third step as maximum one would need to climb. In other words, if one must go higher, than a taller ladder would have been needed. It does not matter if the taller ladder was not available. The OHSA has required all employers to provide all necessary equipment and maintain it.

I guess they did not read the green book.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Fall Protection’, ‘Ladder Safety Awareness’ and Working at Heights’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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