Blog Post #1355 – Worker Injury at Bowmanville Cement Facility Results in $165,000 Fine for Toronto-based Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker suffered a critical injury on October 8, 2019, while performing maintenance testing work at the St. Marys Cement Bowmanville facility.

The worker, employed by St. Marys cement, was conducting testing on equipment in the Finish Mill at the Bowmanville facility. The area is where a fine cement powder is produced. An analysis was being conducted of the equipment’s condition using vibration measurements which can only be taken while the equipment is active.

The Finish Mill Cooler is a vertical steel tube, with water that flows down the outside. A fixed ladder provides access to the top of the cement cooler.

The top perimeter has guardrails around it. There was a covered hatch located at one end of the top of the cement cooler that provided access to the interior.

The cement cooler can continue to operate if the hatch is open or removed. There was no means of mechanically securing the hatch cover in a closed position; it was held in place by gravity.

Inside the cement cooler, there is a rotor that has a spiral cage up against the tube that moves cement powder up against that outside wall. This process cools the cement powder.

The worker climbed the access ladder and started to take vibration measurements at various locations while the equipment was in operation. During this process the worker stepped on the access hatch cover, which then flipped inward, causing a critical injury to the worker.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Oshawa, St. Mary’s Cement, Inc. (Canada) was fined $165,000 by Judge Lara Crawford; Crown Counsel Shantanu Roy.

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:

St. Marys Cement was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 15, subsection (a) which states,

A cover on an opening in a floor, roof or other surface shall be,

(a) secured in place

This was contrary to section 25(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.”

It sure sounds, to me, that the employer did not read the OHSA or sector regulation when designing the cooler. The procedures should have been into place and included segments of the Act or regulation.

Too late for the worker. Thank goodness he/she was not killed!

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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.



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