Blog Post #1496 – Workplace Injury Leads to $60,000 Fine for Richards Landing-based Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Bernt Gilbertson Enterprise Limited of Richards Landing, Ontario, was critically injured when a motor fell during maintenance work being performed on a portable cone crusher. Gilbertson Enterprises failed as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. The accident took place on May 15, 2021.

On the day of the incident, two workers employed by the Company were performing maintenance work on a portable cone crusher, which involved removing and replacing drive belts on the motor. The motor weighed approximately 3,700 pounds.

To replace the belts, the motor was connected to a loader using two chain slings and hooks but remained attached to a pivoting base by two of its four mounting bolts. The loader was used to partially suspend the motor to allow access to the drive belts.

Tension between the motor and drive belts was removed so that the belts could be replaced. The belts were then re-tensioned, using a bottle jack to perform the final adjustments.

When a worker reached under the motor to use the bottle jack, one of the chain slings supporting the motor broke, causing the motor to fall and resulting in a critical injury.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation found that the chain slings used to elevate the motor were not labelled with the maximum load rating capacity or working load limit.

A Ministry engineer also determined that the rigging was inappropriate for lifting, and that it was possible the tension in the failed chain exceeded the weight of the load and the strength of the chain in the circumstances. To ensure that the working load limit of the rigging was not exceeded, slings and other rigging should have been labelled with the maximum load rating capacity or working load limit.

Following a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, the Company was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Philip Stanghetta; Crown Counsel, Alessandra Hollands.

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:

Bernt Gilbertson Enterprise was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

(h) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

I cannot believe that ‘Overhead Crane’ training or ‘Lifting and Rigging’ training was not covered here. The training would have included the inspection of the rigging and workers are trained to throw out any slings and riggings where the Safe Working Load (SWL) identification tag is missing or not legible.

Where was the supervisor in all this? Was he/she competent to organize the work?

Good questions, but obviously, not answered and we have another worker injured on the job.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Safe Use of Overhead Cranes’ and ‘Construction Lifting and Rigging’.

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.

 

 

 

570 thoughts on “Blog Post #1496 – Workplace Injury Leads to $60,000 Fine for Richards Landing-based Company”

Leave a Comment