Blog Post #1059 – Newmarket Company Fined $135,000 After Worker Fatally Injured by Forklift

Blog Post #1059 – Newmarket Company Fined $135,000 After Worker Fatally Injured by Forklift

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

  A company was found guilty of a health and safety contravention after a temporary worker was critically injured and later died after being struck by a forklift on October 22, 2015 at the Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc., 630 Newpark Boulevard, Newmarket, Ontario.

A temporary agency worker was working as a belt line operator’s assistant. This job required frequent movement along and between conveyor belt lines and among moving forklifts. There were three belt lines in operation at the time of the incident and an out-of-service line known as the surface line.

The worker was walking along the side of the surface line and walked past a stack of bins and across a yellow line painted on the floor, then entered a pathway that was shared by both forklifts and pedestrians, between the surface line and a fourth belt line. The worker was struck by a forklift driven by the belt line operator.

The worker suffered a severe injury and was hospitalized, passing away several months later.

The Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that the walkway was a shared pedestrian and forklift aisle frequently used as a traffic corridor in both directions. There were no pedestrian crossways, stop signs, mirrors, walkways or barriers separating pedestrians from forklift traffic, and there were no identified crossing points along the aisle to make pedestrian movement more predictable and easier to anticipate.

A Ministry of Labour ergonomist conducted a line-of-sight assessment and concluded that there had been insufficient distance for the forklift operator to safely bring the forklift to a stop before the impact with the worker. Also, there was a ‘blind spot’ area, and the forklift operator had not been speeding.

Empty bins were stored two high adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area. The line-of-sight assessment indicated that the storage of empty bins adjacent to the yellow lines on the floor in the surface line area was a contributing factor to the incident. The location and height of the bins limited the sight lines available to the forklift operator by effectively blocking part of the view.

The company failed to take any or all of the following reasonable precautions:

  • ensuring a worker was not endangered by the operation of a forklift;
  • ensuring that a pedestrian was adequately separated from forklift traffic in a “high forklift travel” route;
  • ensuring the storage of materials did not endanger the safety of a worker by limiting sightlines of a forklift operator and/or pedestrian worker.

Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc. was fined $135,000 after pleading guilty to the offence of failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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

The law(s) in contravention

Bodycote Thermal Processing Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario 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.”

I also believe that section 45, subsection (b)(ii) of the ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90 can be used. It states,

 “Material, articles or things,

(b) shall be transported, placed or stored so that the material, articles or things,

(ii) can be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker.”

The storage of the product hindered the forklift operator when he/she was in or around the storage area. This gave way to the operator not having adequate sight-lines for pedestrians when either storing or retrieving the material. This should have been caught by the in-house safety people which may include a Health and Safety Co-ordinator and a health and safety committee.

I guess they see it now! Too bad for the employee.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at

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.