Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker employed by Welded Tube of Canada Limited was injured after a one-ton steel pipe came into contact with a worker. The injury was a result of the injured worker being unable to communicate with another worker due to the poor quality of the two-way radios being used.
The accident happened on May 05, 2017 at their facility in Welland, Ontario.
On the day of the incident, a worker was working as a furnace assistant. One task was to ensure the metal pipes coming out of the furnace moved along two transfer tables to the second part of the finishing process.
During the shift, a metal pipe became stuck on one of the transfer tables. Accordingly, the machine was shut down by the furnace operator. Once shut down, the furnace assistant went between the two transfer tables to adjust the sensor on the transfer table.
After completing this task, the furnace assistant used a two-way radio and asked the furnace operator if the issue had been resolved.
The furnace operator misunderstood the message and as a result re-started the machine while the furnace assistant was still between the two transfer tables. This caused the transfer table to move up and begin the process of transferring the steel pipe onto the second table.
Due to the furnace assistant’s position, the steel pipe, weighing approximately one ton, was transferred onto the furnace worker’s body and resulted in a critical injury.
Emergency services personnel were called to the workplace to remove the steel pipe from the injured worker and transfer the worker to hospital.
The Ministry of Labour’s investigation found that there were issues with the clarity and the quality of the two-way radios being used.
It was also discovered that some of the employees did not know how to properly use the radio communication system that was put in place by the defendant.
By failing to have a safe and effective communication system for the protection of its workers, Welded Tube did not comply with its obligation under the act.
Following a guilty plea, Welded Tube of Canada was fined $120,000 by Justice of the Peace Carol A. Chernish in provincial offences court in Welland; Crown Counsel Marco Galluzzo.
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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Welded Tube of Canada 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.”
The following questions should have been asked and answered:
- Where was the supervisor in all this?
- Was there a JHA completed for the task was to be attempted?
- Is there a health and safety committee and was it active?
- Did the worker(s) receive a set of written work instructions prior to the work was to be initiated?
Yes, all good questions that would have gone a long way in the prevention of the accident and the critical injury of an employee.
I bet they have that all there now!
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‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.