Blog Post #1152 – Company Director Fined for Worker Fatality in Toronto

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

On February 15, 2017, a worker was killed at JTF Davco Ltd., a company that fabricates screws from brass and other metal stock, among other items, after being caught up in a screw-fabricating machine.

Robert Markle, sole Director of the company, was charged. He is registered as the sole director of JTF Davco Ltd. and occupies all of its officer positions.

On February 15, 2017, a worker who was a machine operator was responsible for overseeing the operation of screw machines, including loading stock into the machines and checking product for quality control.

One of the machines used in the plant was a five-spindle automatic screw machine. It had an exposed stock reel composed of a bundle of five tubes into which thin 12-foot rods of brass stock were placed. The stock was inserted into the machine and the machine would fabricate threaded inserts from the stock.

The stock reel would complete a partial rotation at fixed intervals to accommodate the insertion of different bars of brass stock into the machine. The stock reel was held together with two locking collars, each of which had five bolts, the heads of which protruded from the collar.

During the shift, the worker sat down on a wooden crate near the exposed stock reel. The wooden crate was not a designated seating area. The worker’s back was to the bundle.

As the stock reel rotated, the exposed bolt heads of one of the collars grabbed the worker’s shirt collar and pulled the shirt into the rotation of the stock reel, which fatally injured the worker. The cause of death was determined to be neck compression. The exposed stock reel and locking collars were not protected by a guard or other device to prevent access to the moving parts.

Following a guilty plea, company director Robert Markle was fined $22,000 by Justice of the Peace Rosanne Giulietti in Toronto court; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.

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:

Robert Markle pleaded guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90, section 24 which states,

“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”

Robert Markle also plead guilty to a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 32, subsection (a) which states,

“Every director and every officer of a corporation shall take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complies with,

  • this Act and the regulations.”

This is the first time, that I can remember, that the entire responsibility laid with a Director and not the company. I guess the Ministry of Labour (MOL) felt that Markle, and Markel alone, was directly responsible for the accident. The fine, however, seems a little light for a death of a worker. How disappointing!

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’ 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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