Blog Post #1525 – Toronto Countertop Installation Company Fined $100,000 After Workplace Fatality

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. of Toronto, Ontario, was fatally injured when they were struck by a slab of granite that tipped over while it was being removed from a storage rack. GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. failed to ensure the stone slab was removed from the rack in a manner that would not endanger the safety of any worker.

On October 8, 2021, a worker and a director of GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. went to the back of the company’s workplace yard to retrieve a slab of granite that was stored on a wooden A-frame rack, which contained four slabs of granite, two on each side of the rack, weighing about 1,100 pounds each.

This task required the use of a forklift equipped with a boom attachment with a suspended slab gripper and involved several steps.

The first was positioning the slab so the slab gripper could be attached along the top edge to lift the slab with the forklift. The worker and the director worked together to manually push the top-most slab of granite off its resting position on the A-frame to put a wooden 2×4 between the desired slab and the slab beneath it.

The worker also placed another 2×4 approximately half-way up the side of the slab to create a gap between the tops of the slabs. At this point, the desired slab was separated from the slab remaining on the A-frame, with spacing for the slab gripper maintained by 2x4s.

The next step in the process was to attach the slab gripper onto the stone slab to lift the slab with the forklift. The director returned to the forklift to prepare to lift the mast of the forklift and engage the gripper.

The worker stepped in front of the slab to position and secure the slab gripper onto the slab. The worker then stepped up onto the base of the A-frame to reach and position the slab gripper. The granite slab tipped forward, striking the worker and causing fatal injuries.

GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. has since closed for business.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. was fined $100,000 by Justice Lori A. Thomas. Crown Counsel was Shantanu Shankar Roy.

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:

GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ regulation 851/90, section 45, subsection (c) which states,

“Material, articles or things,

(c) to be removed from a storage area, pile or rack, shall be removed in a manner that will not endanger the safety of any worker.”

This is contrary to the Ontario 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.”

Most companies start out with good intentions but accidents still happen, especially when the culture is production over safety.

Go figure they had to shut the doors.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Material Handling’ and ‘Proper Lifting Techniques’. 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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