Blog Post #1457 – Workplace Injury Results in $60,000 Fine for York Employer

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Ryder Material Handling ULC, was injured replacing battery cells on a forklift at the 1551 Weston Road, York, Ontario plant. While using a welding torch to melt a lead stick, a chemical reaction occurred harming the worker.

On June 10, 2021, a worker was replacing battery cells on a forklift at Crown Lift Trucks ULC, owned by Ryder Material Handling ULC.

The worker used the oxygen of an oxyacetylene torch to release the hydrogen gas from three battery cells, also known as off-gassing. While using the welding torch to melt a lead stick onto an inter-cell connector post that connects adjacent cells in a battery, a chemical reaction occurred resulting in the sulfuric acid from a battery cell coming into contact with the worker.

The worker was injured as a result.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, Old City Hall, Ryder Material Handling ULC was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Raffaella Scarpato; Crown Counsel, Giuseppe (Joe) Ferraro.

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:

The employer failed to acquaint a worker with any hazard in the handling and use of a device or equipment contrary to s. 25(2)(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

It states,

“An employer shall,

(d) acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.”

I could not believe what I was reading!

Oxygen, acetylene, hydrogen all involved and no written instructions on how to deal with them and how to control the process?

What PPE, if any, was he/she wearing?

All good questions but no answers, it seems.

I am also surprised by the company involved. They have always had a good safety reputation and are known to be a quality company.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Chemical Safety Awareness’, ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘WHMIS’. 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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