Blog Post #1244 – Workers’ Injuries from Explosion Result in $135,000 Fine for Woodbridge Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Two workers, employed by Noranco Inc., were injured when a landing-gear component they were attempting to disassemble exploded under pressure.

On May 3, 2018, two workers were attempting to disassemble a landing gear sub-assembly known as a shock strut that had been returned to Noranco by a customer for a retrofit upgrade.

The shock strut was suspended from an overhead crane. Unknown to the two workers, the shock strut had been returned by the customer fully pressurized with nitrogen.

During disassembly, the strut exploded, separating the piston from the cylinder. The piston was moving upward with such force that it struck the overhead crane and dislodged it from its mooring, forcing it to the ground. The piston and other components struck both workers. Both workers received critical injuries.

The unit returned by the client had been installed on an aircraft and had been pressurized.

Noranco’s quality control department reviews returned items before releasing them for work and tags the part to indicate any special warnings to workers. No tag was attached to the shock strut to indicate the part was pressurized.

This disassembly process had never been done before at Noranco for a pressurized returned part; there were no written procedures for the task.

In compliance with an order from the Ministry of Labour, Noranco subsequently implemented a policy to ensure that all shock struts returned by a customer are depressurized, a procedure put in place to ensure any residual pressure is released prior to disassembly, and that a secondary restraint cable is to remain in place until a strut unit is fully depressurized to atmospheric pressure.

Following a guilty plea, Noranco Inc. was fined $135,000 in provincial offences court in Newmarket by Justice of the Peace Philip N. Solomon; 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:

Noranco Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90, section 78, subsection 1(a) which states,

“Where repairs or alterations are to be made on a drum, tank, pipeline or other container, the drum, tank, pipeline or other container shall,

  • have internal pressures adjusted to atmospheric pressure before any fastening is removed.”

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

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. 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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