Blog Post #1205 – Death of Worker in Tottenham Construction Project Results in $130,000 Fine to Japanese Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker was performing diagnostic tests on a new metal stamping press and feeder when a component moved and pinned the worker within the equipment, causing fatal injuries. The worker was employed by Access Limited, 1080 Kouzu-Machi, Hakusan, Ishikawa 924-0821, Japan, an engineering company that develops, designs and manufactures automation equipment for automated press and machine lines and provides production start-up and service support.

On the evening of August 30, 2017, two workers employed by Access Limited were assisting with the installation of a new metal stamping press and feeder. It was determined it would be safer to do so overnight when the equipment was not being operated by press technicians.

The power to the press machine was turned off but a piece of equipment known as a ‘de-stacker feeder’ remained powered and operational. One of the workers briefly left the work area in the early hours of August 31 and observed the other worker performing diagnostic testing at the de-stacker feeder control panel.

Upon returning, the worker discovered the victim’s body positioned in front of a part of the de-stacker feeder known as the ‘DB bucket car.’ This car is a small mechanized cart which travels along rails. There is fencing surrounding the loading area for the bucket car which has an opening that allows the car to leave the loading area to the unloading area.

The body was found pinned between the edge of the bucket car and the frame of the fencing that surrounds the bucket car opening. There were no witnesses to the incident.

The Ministry of Labour investigated the incident and determined the likely cause of the fatality was that while the worker was present within the fenced area, the bucket car started and moved along the rail towards the opening of the fence and the worker.

The investigation also revealed that safety interlock circuits were installed around the bucket car. If the fence door to the loading area is open or not present, the safety interlock circuits would be triggered and the bucket car would be prevented from moving. However, these safety interlock circuits had been overridden. The investigation did not reveal who overrode the interlock circuits or why.

The investigation determined that a reasonable precaution would have been to ensure control switches or mechanisms for the bucket car were locked out to prevent the starting of the bucket car where the starting of the car may endanger a worker. It was found that there were no other effective precautions taken by the company to prevent the starting of the bucket car where a worker may be endangered by such movement.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $130,000 by Justice of the Peace Grainne M.K. Forrest in Barrie provincial court;

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:

Access Limited was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

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

SOPs or Standard Operating Procedure, would have gone a long way in the start up of any new equipment and a JHA (Job Hazard Assessment) was also needed during the installation phase.

I would wager they have one now!

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 

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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