Blog Post #530 – CRS Specialties Inc. and Supervisor Fined $59,000 after Co-op Student Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

CRS Specialties Inc., a Welland manufacturer of rebar bending equipment, was fined $55,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a student, working there as a co-operative education placement, was injured. A further fine of $4,000 was imposed on a supervisor for a similar violation of the act during the investigation of the incident.

On March 23, 2011, at the company’s Welland workplace, the student was taking apart a fan and washing it in a varsol bath. When finished, the student was told to start a welding task. When beginning the task, the young worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt over overalls. Polyester materials are susceptible to ignition and should not be worn while welding. The student was not supplied with a welding jacket, welding sleeves, neck shroud or flame-retardant clothing. The supervisor did not intervene to make sure the student removed the sweatshirt and had sufficient apparel to prevent injury.

While the student was welding, the sweatshirt ignited and caught fire. The student suffered second degree burns.

Later, on March 28, 2011, while the Ministry of Labour was investigating that incident, an inspector saw another worker in the same workplace not wearing apparel sufficient to prevent injury while welding. The worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt and only one welding sleeve.

CRS Specialties Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a competent person was appointed as supervisor.

Supervisor, Chad Corriveau, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury while welding so the co-op student, or any other worker, was not injured.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace B. Phillips. 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:

CRS Specialties Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 84 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90 which states:

“A worker exposed to the hazard of injury from contact of the worker’s skin with;
(a) a noxious gas, liquid, fume or dust;
(b) a sharp or jagged object which may puncture, cut or abrade the worker’s skin;
(c) a hot object, hot liquid or molten metal; or
(d) radiant heat,

shall be protected by,

(a) wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury; or
(b) a shield, screen or similar barrier,

appropriate in the circumstances.”

CRS Specialties Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“The employer shall,

When appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

Chad Corriveau, the supervisor on the job, was found guilty of a contravention of section 27, sub-section 1(a) of the OHSA which states,

“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations.”

Any time an employer hires a supervisor, the company has to ensure that the supervisor has all the tools needed to do the job. That includes full knowledge of the act and sector regular relations that applied to the job.

The Occupational Health & Safety Act, as well as the sector regulations, were put together to ensure a safe worksite. The worker must be protected! A co-op student injured, happens more and more often.

CRS specialties Inc., obviously, did not understand their responsibility concerning the training of Chad Corriveau. Chad should have received all the information necessary to ensure a safe work environment for his employees working directly under him.

I disagree with the fine issued to Chad because the onus was on the employer to ensure Chad was better trained.(Competent) It was CRS Specialties Inc. responsibility to ensure the safest possible workplace which includes appropriate training.

As a trainer of Basic Certification, Level I, for the MOL and WSIB, it is easy for me to understand why many companies are not aware of their responsibilities under section 25 and 26 of the OHSA and that supervisors do not understand their responsibilities under section 27 of the OHSA. Training is always the last portion discussed in the development of a budget and the first to go in a budget cut.

The MOL is working very diligently on ensuring that all persons on a job site, or place of work, will receive the necessary training as the new training standard has been enacted.

Please read the appropriate sections of the ACT pertaining to your place of work and ensure that all employees, supervisors and managers are in compliance.

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’, ‘Welding Safety’ 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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