Blog Post #375 – Cimco and Sobeys Capital Fined $125,000 Total after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Cimco Refrigeration, a division of Toromont Industries Ltd. that manufactures and maintains refrigeration systems, was fined $95,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. Sobeys Capital Inc., carrying on business as Sobey’s Whitby Retail Support Centre, a grocery distribution centre, was fined $30,000 in relation to the same incident.

On August 22, 2009, a worker from Cimco Refrigeration was servicing an electrically-powered door at the Sobey’s Whitby Retail Support Centre. While standing on a ladder, the worker made contact with the door’s energized control panel. The worker fell from the ladder, sustaining severe head injuries and electrical burns.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the control panel was not disconnected from the power supply, locked out or tagged before the worker started service to the door.

Also, during the course of investigation, a manager from Sobey’s asked a maintenance worker to perform a task that involved interfering with the scene of the occurrence.

Sobeys Capital Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that no one interfered with or altered anything at the scene of the incident until permission to do so was given by an inspector.

Cimco Refrigeration pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the power supply to the control panel was disconnected, locked out or tagged before any work was done on or near live exposed parts of the control panel.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Tina Rotondi-Molinari. 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:

Cimco Refrigeration was found guilty of violating section 42, subsection 1, of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.”

Sobey’s was found guilty of violating section 51, subsection 2, of the OHSA which states,

“Where a person is killed or is critically injured at a workplace, no person shall, except for the purpose of,

a) Saving life or relieving suffering,
b) Maintaining an essential public utility service or a public transportation system, or
c) Preventing unnecessary damage to equipment or other property,

interferes with, disturb, destroy, alter or carry away any wreckage, article or thing at the scene of or connected with the occurrence until permission so to do has been given by an inspector.”

It becomes a large question mark why a company the size of Sobey’s forgot to ensure that their contractors, namely Cimco Refrigeration are following a corporate program, if they had one, to cover lockout and tagout.

Most large companies have a health and safety committee that could have a lockout and tagout sub-committee to deal with these types of workplace hazards. I would recommend a training program for all of Sobey’s employees.

Sobeys should have also known better to disturb they accident scene without permission. For shame! I do hope that the corporate side deals with this issue as a learning tool and improve the workers’ safety in their own workplace.

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 ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Lockout and Tagout’. 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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