Blog Post #1499 – Workplace Fatality Results in $200,000 Fine for Barrie-based Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A workplace fatality, occurred on June 14, 2021, when a large flywheel from a motor suddenly became disconnected from a hub and struck a worker. Western Mechanical Electrical Millwright Services Ltd. (the Company) failed as an employer to comply with section 45(a) of Regulation 851/90, the Regulation for Industrial Establishments.

On the day of the incident a worker was tasked with disassembling a decommissioned Primary Heat Transport Pump Motor at a facility where the Company was performing contracted work. While attempting to remove a large flywheel from the motor’s hub, a supervisor connected hydraulic pressure to the hub.

Once the hydraulic pressure was applied, the supervisor began increasing the level of pressure to free the flywheel. This inadvertently caused the flywheel to move off the hub suddenly in an explosive fashion. The flywheel struck the worker causing a fatal injury.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation revealed that the flywheel was attached to a rotating shaft. The flywheel measured 72 inches in diameter, was 6.5 inches thick and weighed approximately 7,200 pounds.

Additionally, the investigation revealed that the strong back bar and threaded rods, attached to the motor to remove the flywheel manually, were not installed in accordance with the flywheel removal instructions and could not be used to remove the flywheel.

The investigation revealed that there was no denoted hazard zone placed around the motor once the decision was made to use hydraulic pressure to remove the flywheel. There were no precautions or other safeguards, such as the use of a restraining device in place, to ensure that the movement of the flywheel did not endanger the safety of the worker and supervisor.

The investigation further determined that while the supervisor had experience reviewing drawings similar to drawings provided by the facility where the work was being done, no one from the Company had reviewed the motor disassembly job with the workers or reviewed the process of removing the flywheel safely from the motor.

Following a guilty plea in Provincial Offences Court in Walkerton, Ontario, the Company was fined $200,000 by Justice of the Peace Emma Sims.

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:

Western Mechanical Electrical Millwright Services Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90, section 45, subsection (a) which states,

“Material, articles or things,

  • required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Very straight forward! There were a few questions needed to be asked and a JHA initiated.

Questions may be:

  • Was a pre-meeting conducted prior to the work being done?
  • Was the supervisor involved with the operation?
  • Was the supervisor “Competent”?
  • Were there a set of written procedures here?

All good questions but now answers.

Sound familiar?

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including “Due Diligence” or “Material Handling”.

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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