Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Woodstock Auto Recyclers Ltd., a Woodstock automobile wrecking yard, was fined $60,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after three workers were injured.

On November 16, 2010, three workers were inside the company’s Woodstock facility. One of the workers was removing a gas tank from a car. The gas tank had not been emptied.

Gasoline spilled out of the tank and was ignited by a nearby inspection lamp. A fire started and the emergency exit was blocked, forcing the workers to run to the other end of the building to escape. All three workers received burns and smoke inhalation.

Woodstock Auto Recyclers Ltd. was fined $55,000 for failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker for the safe removal of a gas tank. The company was also fined $5,000 for failing to ensure that emergency exits were free from obstructions.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Sonia Aleong. In addition to the fines, 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:

Woodstock Auto Recyclers Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“The employer shall,

(a) provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

Woodstock Auto Recyclers Ltd., was also found guilty of a contravention of  section 123, sub-section 2 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“The requirements of the Fire Code respecting keeping egress doorways, public corridors and exits free from obstruction apply at industrial establishments.”

I could not believe that a proper set of work instructions would have recognized that a gas tank half full of gasoline was a hazard in itself. I also could not believe that, in this day and age, an emergency exit was blocked with clutter and lengthened the time the worker(s) were to deal with the fire. I thought this type of incident/accident happened only in sweat shops abroad. I guess not.

Only until all employers understand their responsibilities under the OHSA is there ever a chance for the workforce to be truly safe.

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 ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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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