Blog Post #882 – M-B Oakville Autohaus Fined $65,000 After Young Worker Injured in Fall

Blog Post #882 – M-B Oakville Autohaus Fined $65,000 After Young Worker Injured in Fall

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

M-B Oakville Autohaus, also known as 1747808 Ontario Limited, pleaded guilty and has been fined $65,000 after an employee of an electrical company was seriously injured in a fall of almost 22 feet.

The injured young worker, an employee of Andrea Electrical Service Ltd., was working at the defendant’s Mercedes Benz car dealership at 191 Wyecroft Road in Oakville on February 4, 2014 as a general labourer with another worker who was an electrical apprentice. They were contracted to attend the dealership to determine the source of an electrical short problem in a rooftop heating unit; it was their second day at the worksite.

The wires leading to the heating unit were too small so the two workers were attempting to run electrical wires through a conduit located at ceiling height. Both workers were using a skyjack supplied by the defendant. The skyjack was in an area known as the sprinter bay area.

The electrical apprentice attempted to leave through the sprinter bay door to unravel new wires. When the apprentice hit the button to open the sprinter bay door, the breaker switch for the door was left in the ‘on’ position and therefore had power. The door then opened by moving on its overhead rails and struck the skyjack with the young worker on it. The skyjack was knocked over by the sprinter bay door and the young worker suffered serious injuries.

Neither the defendant nor the workers themselves had locked and tagged out the electrical installation while work was being performed in the sprinter bay area, nor had the defendant alerted the workers to the hazard created when the door was opened.

An operations manager for the defendant told a Ministry of Labour inspector that when their workers used the skyjack, they would disable the door if working near the door. The defendant’s maintenance worker would always lock and tag out the door when using the skyjack so no one could open the door.

Court was told that the electrical services company had previously done work on the site.

The defendant failed to acquaint the workers from Andrea Electrical Services Ltd. of the hazard of the overhead door opening when using a skyjack in the sprinter bay, contrary to Section 25(2)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. The company failed as an employer to acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work.

Andrea Electrical Services Ltd. pleaded guilty and was fined $25,000 on June 22, 2015 before Justice of the Peace Kenneth W. Dechert for failing to ensure equipment that could endanger a worker had been locked out.

M-B Oakville Autohaus was fined $65,000 for the safety violation by Justice of the Peace Donald Dudar in Milton provincial court on May 24, 2016.

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:

Even though is was not listed in the original court report the explanation of the lockout issue has to be the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 42 (a) and (b) which states,

  1. (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.”

Andrea Electrical Services Ltd. plead guilty to this.

M-B Oakville Autohaus was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25 subsection 2 (d) which states,

“An employer shall,

(d) acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.”

Electrically-related injuries have always been a tough one for me to swallow as the maintenance of equipment almost always discusses some type of lockout/tagout procedures. To see this today is just not right!

Please ensure that your organization demands hazard assessments before any work is to be done. This would have been very helpful before anyone it to use a boom-supported lift or a scissor-lift.

Too bad M-B Oakville Autohaus had not done the same. Yes, they did in the past but all contractors are allowed to receive any further information necessary to do the work, hence 25, subsection 2(d) was in violation. If it was indeed a safety culture then the contractor would have received the safety information prior to the operation.

By the way, where was the supervisor?

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

Dan
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