Blog Post #510 – Brewers Retail Inc. Fined $175,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Brewers Retail Inc., a Mississauga company that owns and operates beer stores in Ontario, was fined $175,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed by methanol poisoning.

On April 8, 2012, two workers were washing the exteriors of trucks and trailers at The Beer Store Distribution Centre located at 69 First Gulf Boulevard in Brampton. That afternoon, one of the workers found a liquor bottle filled with blue liquid. The bottle contained methanol windshield washer fluid used in the trucks, however it still had the liquor label on it. The two workers both drank from the bottle, and one took the bottle home and finished it. That worker later died from methanol poisoning.

Brewers Retail Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to acquaint a worker with a hazard in the handling, storage or use of a liquid chemical agent.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lisa Ritchie. 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:

Brewer’s Retail Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2(d) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

(d) Acquaint a worker or a person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.”

The Ontario ‘WHMIS’ regulation 860 could have been used here as well. Everyone is supposed to have been given WHMIS training. The employee is to be able to understand MSDSs, receive the appropriate training and, finally, understand and recognize all workplace, laboratory and supplier labels. Any time there is a product decanted from a larger unit then the container needs to have a workplace label. Everyone knows this but I guess Brewer’s retail never understood their responsibilities.

A little too late for this employee! What a waste and a shame to lose an employee over something so stupid!!!

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’, WHMIS’ 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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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