Blog Post #473 – Operator of Furmar Dixie Road and Employee Fined $156,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s Newsroom’

1648133 Ontario Ltd., operator of Furmar Dixie Road, a Mississauga facility that produces asphalt, was fined $150,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. An employee of the company, Colin Martin, was fined $6,000 in relation to the same incident.

On June 3, 2011, a truck driver arrived at Furmar Dixie Road to pick up six tons of asphalt. The driver asked about the pickup procedure at the main office and was told to drive under a silo and a horn would indicate when to load up. The driver stopped the truck after hearing the horn, believing that the truck was correctly lined up to receive the asphalt. There were no signals to indicate that the truck was in the wrong position, and the asphalt began releasing onto the cab of the truck, caving it in. The driver yelled for help, was pulled from the truck and suffered severe injuries.

1648133 Ontario Ltd. plead guilty to failing to ensure that the silo was guarded or shielded to prevent its asphalt from endangering a worker. The company also plead guilty to failing to provide the driver with adequate information, instruction and supervision regarding the asphalt loading process. It was fined $75,000 for each offence.

When Ministry of Labour personnel went to investigate the incident they tested the system of photo sensors intended to prevent the release of asphalt if a truck was not lined up correctly. The testing, done in the control tower, showed the sensors for one of the silos were not working. Mr. Martin, who was in the control tower with the ministry personnel, left the room, returned and asked that they test the silo again. This time it worked. When questioned, Mr. Martin told the inspector for the first time that there was a control box that would allow the sensors to be bypassed. He had turned off the sensor bypass to the silo without the inspector’s knowledge or permission.

Colin Martin plead guilty to altering the scene without the inspector’s permission to do so.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Barnes. 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:

Furmar Dixie Road was found guilty of violating section 26 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A machine shall be shielded or guarded so that the product, material being processed or waste stock will not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Furmar Dixie Road was also found guilty of violating section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall,

(a) Provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

Colin Martin was found guilty of violating section 51, subsection 2 of the OHSA which states,

Preservation of wreckage

(2) 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 human suffering;
(b) Maintaining an essential public utility service or a public transportation system; or
(c) Preventing unnecessary damage to equipment or other property, interfere 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.”

One cannot disturb the scene without permission! One cannot alter the scene and change the outcome of the investigation! Here we find Colin Martin, blatantly changing things to suit the scenario.

Furmar Dixie Road should have had tailgate meetings discussing the application of work being done. The owners should have reviewed to processes and ensured that the processes were not played with AND this type of injury could not happen.

Until, at such time, that the worker safety becomes the main driving force in the workplace, the workers safety will always be at risk!

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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