Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker employed by Pipe & Piling Supplies Limited sustained critical injuries when they became pinned between a rail car and a front-end loader. Pipe & Piling Supplies Limited failed to ensure that the unattended flatbed rail car was immobilized and secured against accidental movement.
On April 8, 2021, a worker was using the forks of a front-end loader to move an empty rail car along railway tracks. Once at the desired location, the worker jumped onto the rail car to access the hand brakes, but the rail car rolled backwards. The worker became pinned between the rail car and the front-end loader, sustaining critical injuries.
Pipe & Piling Supplies Limited failed, as an employer, to ensure that the unattended flatbed railcar was immobilized and secured against accidental movement, as prescribed in s. 57 of Ontario Regulation 85/90.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Old City Hall, Pipe & Piling Supplies (Central) Limited was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace Vladimir Bubrin; Crown Counsel, Dan Phelan.
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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Pipes and Piling Supplies Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 57 which states,
“A vehicle left unattended shall be immobilized and secured against accidental movement.”
This is contrary to the 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.”
The lack of knowledge of the law can not be a defence. Here we have a very large vehicle left unattended. There were many questions here.
- Was there a policy and possible procedure for this operation?
- Where was the adequate supervision?
- Was the worker given adequate training for the operation? and
- Does the employer have a safety representative or Joint Health and Safety Committee (JHSC) and did they recognize the hazard?
All good questions, but again, no answers and a worker is critically injured.
By the way, a critical injury can be any of the listed below:
“A critical injury” means an injury of a serious nature that,
(a) places life in jeopardy,
(b) produces unconsciousness,
(c) results in substantial loss of blood,
(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.
Food for thought. The employer must ensure that workplace inspections are commonplace and the JHSC MUST be active as well. The need for hazard recognition in the workplace is paramount to better protect the workforce.
I do hope the worker is back to work and the company has placed safeguards against a recurrence. The MLITSD would not allow them to reopen unless they did.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Material Handling’ and ‘Due Diligence’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
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.