Blog Post #721 – Aluminart Products Ltd. Fined $50,000 After Worker Loses Part of Finger

Blog Post #721 – Aluminart Products Ltd. Fined $50,000 After Worker Loses Part of Finger

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Aluminart Products Ltd., a business that manufactures aluminum and vinyl windows and storm doors, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker suffered amputation of part of a finger.

On April 9, 2013, a worker was using a punch press at the company’s facility at 1 Summerlea Road in Brampton. The machine is used to punch, drill and cut pieces of stock material for use in the assembly of a finished product.

The worker was feeding the stock material into the machine via an opening about four inches wide. The machine began to cycle while one of the worker’s fingers was inside the opening. When the cycle completed, a shear piece – a part used to cut the stock material – amputated part of the worker’s finger.

A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that two weeks prior to the incident, there had been a complaint to the employer and supervisor about the hazards posed by the opening on the machine. The employer failed to ensure that the punch press was guarded by a guard or other device as prescribed.

Aluminart Products Limited pleaded guilty and was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael Barnes in Brampton court. 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:

Aluminart Products Ltd. was found guilty a contravention of section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which 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.”

Aluminart Products Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Here we had a complaint by the workforce about the safety of a piece of equipment. Machine Guarding MUST be in place prior to any work is to be done. THAT IS THE LAW!

Aluminart Products Ltd., should have investigated the complaint and acted upon it. Prior knowledge must be investigated, especially when the complaint has been documented because no action taken may be deemed to be criminal in the advent of an accident, like this one. It was certainly criminal for the company to ignore the situation.

I know “hindsight is 20-20” but Aluminart Products Ltd. had a chance to fix the problem and chose to ignore it. Their action, or lack thereof, could be deemed criminal and section 217 of the Canadian Labour Code, formerly Bill C-45, could have been used, I feel, in this case. Was it criminal to ignore a legitimate complaint? I think it was! How about you the reader, how do you feel about this?

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’, ‘Machine Guarding’ 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

Dan
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