Blog Post #1223 – Worker’s Fatal Injuries Result in $150,000 Fine for Toronto Metal Processor

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Venture Steel Inc., a metal processor and distributor with its principal place of business located in Toronto, Ontario was killed after becoming caught in the pinch point of a machine.

On October 4, 2017, a Venture Steel Inc. worker was engaged in the task of separating steel coils and preparing them for packaging and shipment. The worker was working on a particular “slitter line” which is an arrangement of machines used to slit one master steel coil into smaller or narrower ones. Steel coils strapped with metal banding are transferred by coil car onto one of four arms of a transfer turret called a turnstile.

A device called the Downender is critical to the movement of the coils. It is a roller conveyor mounted on a pivoting frame in either a vertical or horizontal position. In the vertical position, it receives the steel coils, then pivots to the horizontal to transfer the coil to a conveyor. It appears that the worker was preparing to package a steel coil. At this point the Downender was in the horizontal position.

The worker operated the control panel to bring the downender to the upright position, which triggered an automatic extension toward the turnstile’s arm. The worker was in the working space and was trapped and pinched.

Other workers freed the worker by pressing the E-stop button on the machine. The worker was taken to hospital but succumbed to the injuries.

There were no safety devices such as guards, light curtains or mats in place to prevent access to the unguarded pinch point hazard created by the horizontal movement of the machine. It was observed in a surveillance video that the downender machine was in motion at the time of the incident and not blocked or locked out in any way. There is another similar line in the workplace where a safety mat is installed to prevent access to the same type of pinch point.

At the time of the incident, a guarding plan for the slitter line was produced for the (then) Ministry of Labour’s occupational health and safety inspector but this had not yet been implemented. In this case, Venture Steel Inc. did not ensure that the hazard to worker safety created by the machine in question was guarded to prevent access.

Following a guilty plea, Venture Steel Inc. was fined $150,000 by Judge Malcolm McLeod at Old City Hall provincial offences court in Toronto; Crown Counsel David McCaskill.

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:

Venture Steel Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ 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.”

‘Machine Guarding’ is leading cause of injury in the Industrial sector today. Every company needs to ensure that all machinery is properly guarded and does not allow any worker to come in contact with a moving part.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Machine Guarding’. 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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