Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Vehcom Manufacturing Ltd., a Guelph auto parts manufacturer, was fined $75,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On June 11, 2010, a young worker at Vehcom’s industrial facility located at 74 Campbell Road in Guelph, worked on a production line. Known as the “ATX” line, this production line consisted of four machining centres and a fenced-off “robot cell” containing a large robotic arm. A jam occurred in the “robot cell” and the worker entered in order to access the machining centre and clear it. Upon clearing the jam a steel rod activated, causing injuries to the worker’s hand.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the machine was not shut down or locked out when the worker entered to clear the jam.

Vehcom Manufacturing Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machine was equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to a pinch point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace A. James Child. 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:

Vehcom Manufacturing Ltd. Was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1(c), of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

This company was also very lucky not to have been charged with section 42, sub-sections 1 & 2 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, which states,

(1) “The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.”

(2) “Before beginning the work, each worker shall determine if the requirements of subsection (1) have been complied with.”

If the supervisor was unaware of his/her responsibilities then section 25, subsection 2c of the OHSA was violated by the employer. This section states,

“An employer shall,

(c) When appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

By the way, section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 was the primary section violated and should have been used in this case. It states,

“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

In closing,

I would like to say the fines were in line with the about possible listed violations. Personal fines of up to $25,000 could have been levied and company fines of up to $500,000 could have been issued as well. I just cannot believe in this day and age that someone would still attempt repair without lockout and tagout.

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 ‘Lockout and Tagout’. 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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