Blog Post #335 – Manufacturer and Supervisor Fined $54,000 Total after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

The Elmwood Group Limited, a St. Catharines manufacturer of custom cabinetry, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. Jake Tissen, a supervisor with the company, was fined $4,000 in relation to the same incident.

On November 13, 2009, at the company’s facility in St. Catharines, a worker was using a table saw to cut a wooden part for a cabinet. Mr. Tissen was helping the worker. Towards the end of the cut, the worker noticed a fragment of wood coming loose and reached to grab it. The worker’s hand came in contact with the saw blade and three of the worker’s fingers were amputated.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the table saw was equipped with a guard to prevent access to its moving blade, but the guard was not in use.

The Elmwood Group Limited pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the table saw was guarded to prevent access to its moving blade. Jake Tissen pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure the same.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Dan MacDonald. In addition to the fines, the court 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 Elmwood Group Limited was found guilty of violating section 24 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851 which states,

“Where a machine has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker the machine shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”

I cannot believe in this day and age that a supervisor would not follow safety requirements to deal with machines as laid out by the manufacturer. The machine guard is there for a reason and MUST be used in all aspects of the machine. The alternative is unacceptable and this particular worker may have a hard time getting another job all because his employer did not consider his health and safety.

I think the fine may have been a little on the light side.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Machine Guarding’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP — Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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