Blog Post #1128 – Flash Fire Injures Worker, Orangeville Company Fined $60,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker, employed by Roto-Mill Inc., 560 Riddell Road, Orangeville, Ontario, a company specializing in asphalt road reclamation and recycling, asphalt milling, concrete scarifying and rumble strip alert warnings systems, suffered injuries from hot asphalt while working on a tanker truck.

In June 2016, the company was engaged in a re-paving construction project on Highway 3 in Port Colborne. The task required using asphalt that is heated to remain in a liquid state. Workers had been instructed to reach an operating temperature of 320 degrees Fahrenheit and stop the reheating process; they had also been directed to monitor and heat the unit without exceeding 380 degrees Fahrenheit. A previous procedure instructed workers to heat the unit without exceeding 500 degrees Fahrenheit.

A worker arrived at the race track parking lot and, working alone, started to re-heat asphalt cement in a Roto-Mill tanker truck. The temperatures were allowed to rise, unmonitored, to approximately 500 degrees.

Another worker was called over to provide assistance and the re-heater was allowed to cool down to lower temperatures. A pump was activated to start drawing the asphalt cement and then shut off. The first worker climbed onto the top of the tanker truck wearing protective equipment for protection from hot asphalt cement.

A single flash fire came from the unit’s discharge pipe near the tanker truck’s hatch and struck the worker. Emergency services attended and the worker was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

The Ministry of Labour investigated and a report prepared by a ministry engineer concluded that the re-heater was overheated which resulted in flammable vapours and hazardous gases and the flash fire.

The defendant failed to ensure that the re-heater was not operated at temperatures that can produce flammable vapors and hazardous gases.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Douglas W. Phillips in St. Catharines court; Crown counsel Daniel Kleiman.

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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Roto-Mill Inc. was found guilty of a contravention to the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Excerpt for Section 25, subsection 1(c), which is used as a secondary section for contravention, section 25, subsection 2(h) is the most widely used. It is general in nature and can be used for almost every contravention. Usually, the government learns from this and writes in a new section to cover the specifics. Changes may occur for the next year, or at least the one after.

A completed JHA, (Job Hazard Analysis or Assessment) handled by a competent person, which is someone described this way,

“‘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.”

The viewer may also not understand the term Critical Injury. The actual information can be found in regulation 834 which states,

“‘critically injured’ means an injury of a serious nature that,

(a) places life in jeopardy,

(b) produces unconsciousness,

(c) results in substantial loss of blood,

(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,

(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,

(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or

(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including Due Diligence. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

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.


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