Blog Post #1469 – Railway Car Manufacturer Fined $140,000 After Worker Fatality

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by National Steel Car Limited was fatally injured after being struck by a lift-assist device that fell from an overhead crane. National Steel Car Limited failed, as an employer, to ensure that the hoisting controls for the overhead crane were located so they could be operated at a safe distance from a load being lifted. The plant was in Hamilton, Ontario.

On September 2, 2020, a crane operator was connecting a lift-assist device, called a turnover pick-up, to the end of a railcar in production at the company’s Hamilton factory.

The worker was using an overhead crane to lift the pick-up into position. While attempting to attach the pick-up to a coupler box at the end of the railcar, the crane’s hoist chain slackened, which caused its hook to slip out of the pickup.

The pick-up fell downwards, fatally striking the worker.

Following a guilty plea in the Provincial Offences Court, Hamilton, National Steel Car Limited was fined $140,000 by His Worship Dan D’Ignazio; Crown Counsel 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:

National Steel Car Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 51, subsection 4(a) which states,

“Hoisting controls operated from other than a cab or cage shall,

  • be located so that they can be operated at a safe distance from a load being lifted.”

Wow, I could not believe what I was reading!

A crane operator using a lifting device and was placed in the area under the lift!

Section 51, subsection 2(a & b(i)) of the same regulation states,

“A lifting device shall be operated,

(a) only by,

(i) a competent person, or

(ii) a worker being instructed who is accompanied by a competent person; and

(b) in such a way that,

(i) no part of the load passes over any worker.”

I wonder who completed their training?

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs. 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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