Blog Post #1116 – Steel Truss Crushes Worker, New Brunswick Company Fined $65,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A steel truss fell off a forklift onto a worker, causing crushing injuries. An operator should have attended the forklift while its load was raised and the load of steel trusses should have been secured from tipping.

The accident happened at the Acton location of AZZ Galvanizing Canada Limited on July 25, 2016.

The worker was working as part of a night shift crew galvanizing steel trusses. Part of the galvanization process includes manual cleaning of the truss for quality control. A forklift is used to move trusses to the shop floor for cleaning. Each steel truss is about 18 metres (60 feet) long and weighs about 453 kilograms (1000 pounds).

That night, the forklift used to move the trusses was smaller than the forklift normally used, which was in repairs. It was also the first time this smaller forklift had been used to lift a load of trusses of this size and weight.

A safety sensor in the operator’s seat was not working at the time. In normal operation, when the forklift’s operator is not seated, the sensor engages a lock system that does not allow the forklift mast to lift, lower, or tilt until the operator returns to the seat.

On the shop floor, the operator left the forklift unattended during the clean-up process. The sensor did not engage the lock system.

To accommodate the cleanup, the forks were raised approximately 0.75 to 0.90 metres (2 ½ to 3 feet) above the shop floor.

The load of trusses on the forklift was also not braced or restrained from tipping in any way.

The worker and a co-worker were cleaning the trusses when one truss tipped from the forks and fell on the worker and received crushing injuries.

The defendant, AZZ Galvanizing Canada Limited, failed to ensure that an operator attended a lifting device’s controls when its load was in a raised position.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Azz Galvanizing Canada Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ regulation 851/90, section 51, subsection (2)(b)(iii) which states,

(2) A lifting device shall be operated,

(b) in such a way that,

(iii) when its load is in a raised position the controls are attended by an operator.

This is direct contravention 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.”

The employer could have been charged under numerous sections of both the OHSA and the sector regulation.

Section 51, subsection 2(a) of the ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 states,

“A lifting device shall be operated,

(a) only by,

(i) a competent person; or

(ii) a worker being instructed who is accompanied by a competent person.”

There is no way a “Competent Driver” would have used an undersized forklift to complete the task.

By the way, the definition of “Competent Person” is listed below.

“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.”

Section 25, subsection 2(c) can, possibly, be used here. If the supervisor was directly involved and didn’t understand weight capacity, load centre distance and height restrictions of the undersized forklift then he/she was not competent.

25, subsection 2(c) states

“An employer shall,

(c) when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

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’, ‘Forklift Certification’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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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




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