Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
On a worksite of a warehouse under construction in Brampton, Ontario, an employee of Dematic Limited, a company that provides supply chain automation, material handling, warehouse management, became pinned between the guardrail of a work platform and a steel structure and died from the injuries. The accident occurred on August 06, 2016.
Dematic Limited was contracted to design and install a conveyor system at a warehouse under construction in Brampton. The conveyor system was part of an automated material handling system for the warehouse.
During installation of the conveyor, workers were required to install decking on previously constructed structural steel frames. The work crew moved the decking by forklift, and used a mobile work platform to access the steel frame to install the decking. The mobile work platform would be moved underneath the steel frame to provide workers access to the areas of the steel frame where the decking was to be installed.
On the day of the incident, two workers who had been performing this task for some time were part of the work crew installing decking on the east end of one of the structural steel frames. Both were working from the mobile work platform, with one operating the controls. The mobile work platform was operated from controls that were accessed while on the platform.
In order to access various sections of the steel frame, the two workers were required to briefly position themselves below the top rail of the guardrails of the mobile work platform to pass under some of the beams of the structural steel frame.
The worker operating the controls of the mobile work platform did not have the co-worker within sight; both were on the platform while it was being moved.
While moving the platform, the operator heard a noise and stopped the platform, then saw the co-worker was pinned between the guardrail of the work platform and the steel structure.
Emergency services were called but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Ministry of Labour attended at the workplace. Investigation revealed that while the workers had received training and instruction in the operation of the mobile work platform, the platform was not being operated at the time of the event in accordance with the operator’s manual. In particular, the manual warned against operating where insufficient clearance existed between the operator and potential obstructions.
Following a guilty plea, the defendant was fined $175,000 by Justice of the Peace Richard Quon in Brampton court, 5 Ray Lawson Boulevard; Crown Counsel Joe Ferraro.
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
Dematic Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Construction Projects’ sector regulation 213/91, section 93, subsection (3) which states,
“All vehicles, machines, tools and equipment shall be used in accordance with any operating manuals issued by the manufacturers.”
This was contrary to the 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.”
Dematic Ltd. was in contravention of the OHSA section 23, subsection 1 which states,
(1) “A constructor shall ensure, on a project undertaken by the constructor that,
(a) the measures and procedures prescribed by this Act and the regulations are carried out on the project;
(b) every employer and every worker performing work on the project complies with this Act and the regulations; and
(c) the health and safety of workers on the project is protected.”
As a trainer of EWPs and Working at Heights (WAH) it is still a big surprise that this type of incident/accident still occurs. The operators MUST be protected from falling by attachment as well as the guardrails. To place a part of the body outside the protection of the guardrails is both idiotic as well as unsafe.
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.
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.