Blog Post #396 – Two Burned in Torch Accident

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

Two Ontario companies were fined a total of $180,000 following an incident three years ago in which two workers sustained burn injuries.

Following a trial, Hard Rock Paving Company Limited and Hard Rock Construction Inc. were convicted and fined $120,000 and $60,000, respectively.

The fines follow an accident on September 19, 2005. Two workers were trying to remove asphalt in a cement tank when the incident occurred. They were using a propane fuel torch to heat the asphalt when the torch’s tank exploded, resulting in third-degree burns for both individuals, the MOL reports.

Hard Rock Paving was fined $60,000 for failing, as an employer, to ensure that asphalt cement was not exposed to an ignition source, and $60,000 for failing to provide adequate information, instruction and supervision to workers.

Hard Rock Construction received its $60,000 penalty for failing, as a constructor, to ensure that asphalt was not exposed to an ignition source.

My opinion

The workplace is not a place where you find out, too late, the information needed by the worker to accomplish his/her work in a safe manner.

Here we find two companies not understanding their responsibilities under the law. All it would have taken was a little information being applied to the operation, perhaps an orientation meeting prior to the work, and the operator may have been saved from the explosion. Oh yes, remember, supervision is also a part of the day-to-day operation and this supervisor was ineffective. If the supervisor did not know his/her responsibilities under the law then the employer was at fault and there is a section of the ACT that focuses on the training aspect of the supervisor by the employer.

All in all, there were no safeguards in place to protect the worker. I bet there are now!

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 ‘Due Diligence’, ‘Propane Heaters and Torches’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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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