Blog Post #1143 – Ontario Lumber Mill Fined $250,000

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

The death of a worker in May 2018 has netted a $250,000 fine for lumber mill in Chapleau, Ont., a community located northwest of Sudbury.

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries pled guilty after worker was killed while operating a loader with fork attachments.

The victim fined surcharge of 25% was also imposed by provincial Court on January 8, 2020, according to a news release.

The incident occurred on May 25, 2018, when a worker was removing wood bundles from the mill’s kiln and placing them in the yard. While the incident had no eyewitnesses, it is believed that a load of wood had been placed in the yard and at the worker had reversed the loader, then got note of the machine to place three small wood pieces known as crossers on the pile, so as to create a space between the original bundle in the bundle to be placed on top of it.

Two crossers were placed, and it is believed that the worker was in the process of placing a third when the loader rolled forward and pinned the worker, who died as a result of injuries occurred.

Inspection of the machine revealed no mechanical defects. However, it was determined that the brake actuator had been modified by the addition of a spring which made the parking brake easier to release.

The Ministry of Labour investigation also revealed that the forks of the loader had not been lowered securely to the ground and that the machine had been parked on sloped ground. In addition, no wheel chocks had been applied.

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries pled guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that a vehicle left unattended shall be immobilized and secured against accidental movement.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Rayonier A.M. Canada Industries was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90 section 57 which states,

“A vehicle left unattended shall be immobilized and secured against accidental movement.”

This was contrary to section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

Any credible forklift trainer talks about forks NOT left in an elevated position and the machine cannot be parked on a slope without wheel chocks and should not be left on a slope without wheel chocks. All this information can be found in the MOL’s ‘Guideline for the Safe Operation of Powered Lift trucks’ as well as CSA B335-15 which covered the necessary information needed to present to the potential student operator.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs, including forklift Certification and Re-Certification training. 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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