Blog Post #1369 – Firms Pay Damages over Amputations

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine (May 2016)

Two companies were fined over unrelated incidents that led to amputations for their workers.

A steel manufacturer in Ontario was fined $100,000 on April 19, 2016 over an incident that had resulted in the amputation for an employee of another steel company. According to a court bulletin from the Ontario Ministry of Labour, a truck driver from a Brampton firm was picking up a steel slab weighing about 10, 800 kilograms from Schmolz+Bickenbach Canada inc.’s plant in Mississauga. A Schmolz shipper-receiver was using a Demag crane with an electromagnet to maneuver the slab onto the truck, where the driver was standing at the back to direct the slab.

At one point, the slab slipped the magnet and fell less than a meter, knocking the driver off the truck and onto the plant floor. An investigation found that the electromagnet had been low in power after being unplugged from its power outlet the night before the incident. Schmolz+Bickenbach pleaded guilty to failing to take every reasonable precaution to protect a worker, by not taking the magnet out of service after it had detached from its power source.

One week before this judgement, a meat-processing firm was fined $65,000 on April 12, 2016, after a worker lost several fingers. The employee at the Brampton facility of Cargill Ltd. was trying to clear an ice jam in an exhaust pipe in a conveyor that was making meat into patties on June 07, 2013.

The typical method of clearing ice jams in the pipe is to have a maintenance worker bang the pipe with a rubber mallet. But the employee put his hand inside the pipe, where exhaust fan blades severed several fingers and caused other injuries.

The Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton issued Cargill the penalty after determining that it failed to provide information, instruction and supervision to ensure the worker’s health and safety.

My opinion

The companies involved MUST take every precaution reasonable to protect their workforce. It seems on did not practice “Due Diligence” and the other did not completely ensure that the worker(s) received all the information necessary to complete the task. Both are easily seen as employer requirements.

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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