Blog Post #412 – Southwest Glass Products Inc. Fined $50,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Southwest Glass Products Inc., a Toronto glass manufacturer, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On September 9, 2010, at the company’s London plant, a worker was unloading glass sheets from a mechanized conveyor. The worker stumbled and reached out to stop from falling. The worker’s hand made contact with a mechanized roller on the conveyor and was pulled around the roller. The worker lost a finger and a tendon.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the employer had installed a guardrail in front of the conveyor but it was removed by workers to make their job easier. At the time of the incident there were no other protective devices to prevent workers from accessing the rollers on that part of the conveyor.

Southwest Glass Products Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the conveyor was guarded to prevent access to its moving parts.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Jacob Bruinewood. In addition to the fine, 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:

Southwest Glass Products Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 24 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

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

What was the sense of placing machine guarding in place to protect the workers, if it can be removed any time they want? The definition is quite clear, so to summarize, there has to be a guard in place at all times to protect workers whenever there is a chance to come in contact with moving parts. No exceptions! I guess it was not clear enough for Southwest Glass Products. They were very fortunate not to have received fines for violating section 25, subsection 2(h) of the OHSA as well as the supervisor violating two sections of the OHSA,

1) section 27, sub-section 1(a), and
2) section 27, sub-section 2(c)

Please review the appropriate sections of the OHSA and sector regulations. You will be surprised what you find there. Mind you, if you are an employer, you are supposed to know the passage anyway prior to any work being done.

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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