Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
An employer and a supervisor pleaded guilty and were fined a total of $53,000 after a temporary worker was permanently injured on a forklift.
The incident took place on April 28, 2016, at Regency Plastics Company Limited located at 358 Flint Road in Toronto. The company manufactures industrial polyethylene packaging.
A temporary worker and a permanent worker had been assigned a task on the other side of the establishment. In order to get there, the permanent worker operated a lifting device known as a “Yale” forklift, which only had one seat for the operator. The permanent worker was able to start the forklift because the key to the forklift had been left in the ignition.
The temporary worker proceeded to stand on the forks of the forklift, in front of and facing the permanent worker/operator, whose field of view was obstructed by the temporary worker. The forklift collided with a structural steel column located in the central area of the establishment.
The temporary worker suffered a crushing injury in the collision, resulting in a permanent injury.
During their employment at Regency Plastics, neither worker had received forklift training, nor were they certified or authorized to operate any forklifts.
Under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), an employer has the duty to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by Ontario labour regulations are carried out at a workplace.
In addition, a supervisor must ensure that a worker works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures prescribed by the applicable regulations.
Ontario Regulation 851 – the Industrial Establishments Regulation – requires that a lifting device be operated only by a “competent person.” The co-worker was not a “competent person” as defined by the OHSA. The definition under the act means a person who (a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance; (b) is familiar with the OHSA and the regulations that apply to the work, and (c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.
Both the company and a supervisor, Joe Latchminarine, pleaded guilty in Toronto court on September 28, 2017. Justice of the Peace Jane Hawtin imposed a fine of $50,000 on Regency Plastics and a fine of $3,000 on the supervisor.
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:
Regency Plastics Company Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 51(2)(a)(i) which states,
51(2) “A lifting device shall be operated,
(a) only by,
(i) a competent person.”
The Ontario definition of a “Competent person” is;
““competent person” means a person who,
(a) is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
(b) is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
(c) has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.”
Regency Plastics Company Ltd. was also found guilty of a section of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Finally, the supervisor involved with the accident, Joe Latchminarine, was found guilty of a contravention of the OHSA section 27, subsection 1(a) which states,
27(1) “A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,
- works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations.”
Training is mandatory to fulfill the requirements of the competency standard listed in the “definitions’ section of the OHSA. In fact, most equipment can be in need of a training module of some kind.
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’, Forklift Certification’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.