Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

New Mex Canada Inc., an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, has been fined $250,000 and two of its directors, Baldev Purba and Rajinder Saini, have been jailed for 25 days each after pleading guilty to safety violations that led to the death of a warehouse worker.

On January 18, 2013, a worker was moving merchandise in the workplace at 286 Rutherford Road South in Brampton, using a combination forklift/operator-up platform called an order picker. The order picker had been modified and had an additional platform supported by the forks that was tack-welded to the manufacturer-equipped operator platform. The added platform did not have a guardrail around it and the worker using it was not wearing fall protection or safety shoes.

The worker was found on the floor and was pronounced dead; the cause of death was later determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.

Ministry of Labour inspectors saw more health and safety hazards in the workplace after the fatality occurred.

Purba and Saini were both charged with failing as directors of New Mex Canada to take reasonable care that the corporation complied with the Occupational Health and safety Act and with Regulation 851. Both pleaded guilty and each was ordered to serve 25 days in jail by Justice of the Peace C. Jill Fletcher, to be served on weekends. Both were ordered to take a health and safety course within the next 60 days.

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:

New Mex Canada was found guilty of a contravention of section 85, subsection (a) of the ‘Industrial’ Ontario Regulation 851/90 which states,

“Where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is more than three metres below the position where he or she is situated,

(a) The worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline that is adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 metres.”

New Mex Canada was also found guilty of a contravention section 25, subsection 2 (a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

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

First of all, Happy New Year to all my readers! Let us all hope that we reduce the number of injuries and deaths, not only in Ontario but right across Canada. Wouldn’t that be something!

The new ‘Working at Heights’ training, required in the ‘Construction’ sector, has been here for a while. My understanding is that somewhere near or over the 100,000 worker mark have received the specialized training and it will not be too long for the other sectors to get on the wagon and receive the 8 hour training as well. It may have been the crucial information needed to have saved the life of this worker.

The employer MUST have the knowledge of the ACT that relates directly their workplace. Actually, I should say SHOULD’ but I believe the Ministry of Labour (MOL) expects that the written word on Ontario safety should be recognized, read and used and a matter of course. Here we have a company where the directors were held accountable as well and sent to jail. The time to be served may not be much in the big scheme of things BUT it does send a clear message to all management that they MUST understand the ACT and sector regulations or be held fully accountable under section 66 of the ACT.

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 ‘Forklift Certification’ and ‘Forklift Re-Certification’. 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.

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