Blog Post #1298 – Worker’s Injuries from Furnace Result in $200,000 Fine for Guelph Manufacturer

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

On October 2, 2018 a worker was in the process of opening the furnace door to remove parts. Upon opening the door, a fireball erupted from the open doorway.

In proper conditions, when the furnace door is open, the entrance to the furnace is fully blocked and covered by a fire curtain. The purpose of the fire curtain is to block and prevent oxygen from outside the furnace entering inside the furnace. The fire curtain maintains a controlled environment inside the furnace when the door is open. 

The fire curtain is lit by a pilot light which ignites the fire curtain prior to the door being opened. However, if the door is opened and the fire curtain is not lit, oxygen from outside is mixed with the controlled environment inside the furnace, which includes endothermic gas. The new gas mixture can be explosive. 

On this day, the fire curtain was not lit when the door was opened. This resulted in a fireball explosion. It is likely that a downdraft of air through the exhaust ventilation of the furnace hood blew out the pilot light.

The explosion exposed the worker to radiant heat which is the transfer of heat through invisible electromagnetic infrared waves. The heat felt from a wood fireplace or the heat felt from a hot stovetop element are examples of radiant heat.

The worker’s skin was not protected from the radiant heat by wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury, nor was the worker wearing a shield, screen or similar barrier. The worker suffered burn injuries.

Linamar Corporation has two prior convictions: a fatality in October 2005 with a fine of $225,000, and a critical injury in August 2008 with a fine of $100,000.

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Guelph, Linamar Corporation was fined $200,000 by Justice of the Peace, Walter W. Rojek. ( Crown Counsel  Neil Gobardhan)

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:

Linamar Corporation was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ regulation 851/90, section 84 which states,

“A worker exposed to the hazard of injury from contact of the worker’s skin with,

(a)  a noxious gas, liquid, fume or dust;

(b)  a sharp or jagged object which may puncture, cut or abrade the worker’s skin;

(c)  a hot object, hot liquid or molten metal; or

(d)  radiant heat,

shall be protected by,

(e)  wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury; or

(f)  a shield, screen or similar barrier,

appropriate in the circumstances.”

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

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

It seems to me that Linamar Corporation got off lucky. As a 3-time loser, Linamar should have hired a health and safety company to complete assessments of their processes and equipment and get everything under control.

As I read between the lines, it seems to me that Linamar Corp. has an archaic management group that STILL decides production over safety.

Our company, HRS Group Inc., has been working with all kinds of companies and we strive to promote safety where ever we go.

Maybe Linamar Corporation needs to hire proper safety people and get Linamar on the “Road to Safety”.

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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