Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Mattress retailer Sleep Country Canada Inc. pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker was critically injured in traffic while completing a delivery in north Toronto.
On January 21, 2016, a worker employed by Sleep Country as a delivery helper was making an evening delivery with a co-worker at an apartment building on the south side of Finch Avenue West near Weston Road.
Finch Avenue West at that location consists of two eastbound lanes, two westbound lanes and a centre lane used as a two-way left turn lane. The co-worker was driving a Sleep Country 5-ton straight truck and needed to reverse out of the building’s driveway onto Finch Avenue West eastbound to return to the company’s distribution centre.
Since the co-worker/driver did not have a view of the passing traffic, the delivery helper stood across the street on the furthest eastbound lane of Finch Avenue to stop traffic and signal the truck to back out onto Finch. While doing so, the delivery helper was struck by an approaching eastbound vehicle and suffered broken bones and other critical injuries.
At the time of the incident, it was dark and the helper was wearing the black-and-grey Sleep Country spring uniform jacket and black pants and was not wearing any high visibility safety apparel; the driver of the vehicle stated that he did not see the helper on the roadway.
Sleep Country failed as an employer to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that workers required to direct vehicular traffic were provided with high visibility safety apparel, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.
Sleep Country pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 in Toronto court by Justice of the Peace Milan Then on April 6, 2017.
The court also 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Sleep Country Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,
“An employer shall,
(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
Sleep Country Canada Inc. was also found guilty of a section of the OHSA, section 66, subsection 1 which states,
“Every person who contravenes or fails to comply with,
(a) a provision of this Act or the regulations;
(b) an order or requirement of an inspector or a Director; or
(c) an order of the Minister,
is guilty of an offence and on conviction is liable to a fine of not more than $100,000 or to imprisonment for a term of not more than twelve months, or to both.”
The operation of the delivery can be simply or complex such as this one was. The need for a hazard analysis should have been completed prior to the workers dealing with the traffic. All possible work needs to be delivered in writing so the message is clear.
Too bad for the worker. I do wonder how severe the critical injuries were. Are they still an ongoing issue or has the worker been completely rehabilitated? The problem is he/she should never have had to face this in the first place.
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
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’, ‘Material Handling Safety Awareness’ 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 firstname.lastname@example.org
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.