Blog Post #248 – Atkinson Irrigation Limited Fined $50,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Atkinson Irrigation Limited, of Stayner, was fined $50,000 on November 18, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a worker to be injured.

On June 15, 2009, the company was expanding an irrigation system at the Toronto Golf Club in Mississauga. A worker cut the cap off an existing irrigation pipe and it exploded, sending shards of piping throughout the work area. A piece of debris struck the worker in the leg, causing injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the pipe was under pressure when the worker cut into it. This is what caused the explosion.

Atkinson Irrigation Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the pipe’s internal pressure was adjusted to atmospheric pressure before the worker cut into it.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Richard Quon. 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:

Atkinson Irrigation Limited was found guilty of violating section 48(1)(a) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“When a drum, tank, pipeline or other container is to be repaired or altered, its internal pressures shall be adjusted to atmospheric before any fastening is removed.”

Another worker hurt because a company was lacking safety controls to a procedure which is clearly defined in the Ontario construction regulation. Do you think they read it before hand? Yeah, right. Obviously, like most companies, the employer was made aware of their responsibilities AFTER the accident and should have had a qualified ‘competent’ worker or supervisor to educate the employer on all facets to do with health and safety in the workplace.

Why do they always wait until it is too late? One has to wonder, doesn’t one?

This company may well have been charged with a few excerpts from the OHSA as well. As the readership is well aware, section 25 covers many responsibilities for the employer and section 27 covers the many responsibilities of the supervisor. Either section could have been used to send the clear message to all employers in Ontario.

In closing,

I still believe that supervisors need to be given supervisory training as a prerequisite to taking over any work crew. The training would certainly cover the ACT and any appropriate regulation. Only then would supervisors understand that they are the first line of defense when it comes to health and safety. The workers ARE their responsibility.

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 ‘Construction Safety Awareness’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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