Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Feenstra’s Equipment Ltd., a business that provides sales, service and repair of new and used agricultural equipment, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after a worker was killed while inflating a tire.

On October 18, 2013, an employee of the business, located in Athens, Ontario, was directed to replace a tire on a wagon. The worker was a licensed tire technician. The rim of the tire was removed and the worker started to mount the replacement tire on the rim. However, the flange of the rim of the wheel was bent in a number of places beyond the allowable variations and there were a number of places where the tire could come off the rim. It was then noticed that the replacement tire had some damage; a patch was installed over the damaged area, a tube was placed inside the tire to assist in securing the patch, and the tire was put on the rim and made ready to inflate.

The worker obtained a two-way non-locking air chuck to inflate the tire, which was then connected to a black air hose connected to the shop’s air supply; the non-locking air chuck meant that the worker needed to be close to the tire during inflation.

As it was inflating, the tire came off the rim and the air pressure caused the wheel assembly to fly up, striking the worker in the hands and head, resulting in his death.

A locking air chuck on an extension hose with an inline pressure gauge allows a worker to not hold the valve stem while inflating a tire and use of it would have been a reasonable precaution on the part of the employer.

Feenstra’s Equipment Ltd., pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker at a workplace as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The business was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace William H. Stewart in Provincial Offences Court in Brockville on January 14, 2015.

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:

Feenstra’s Equipment Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2 (h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

(h) Take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Another death in the workplace! A needless death, one that could easily have been prevented. Why do these things continue to happen?

Feenstra’s Equipment should have had a set of safe written work instructions after a hazard assessment was completed and controls put in place including up-to-date equipment just to ensure the safety of a worker.

There was information acquired during the investigation that the rim “was bent in numerous places” and that information should have been factored in before any work was done. The question should have been,”is this a safe replacement or a rim change?” Either way, the worker was placed at risk and was killed in the process.

Ensure your workplace is a safe place. Read all instructions by the manufacturer, and have a set of safe operating procedures (SOPs) for all activities in your business. This is the law!

HRS Group Inc. stands ready in assisting your company with procedural issues if they are required. We have a total of 30+ years of talent in the organization that is available for you at any time. Please contact us at 1(705) 749-1259 for further information.

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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