Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
St. Marys Cement Inc. of Toronto has been fined $75,000 and a supervisor was fined $3,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.
On January 29, 2012, workers were clearing mud and rock from the vanes of a large rotary sluice at the St. Marys Cement plant located at 400 Waverly Road South in Bowmanville. Although the electrical supply had been turned off, a brake on the sluice was not able to hold the vanes in place for cleaning. An inspection determined that the brake drum was cracked. A steel bar was inserted to prevent the vanes from rotating. When the bar came into contact with one of the vanes, the force of the rotation caused the bar’s handle to suddenly fly upward. It struck one of the workers on the face, causing a concussion and facial fractures. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed the incident.
St. Marys Cement pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that gravity-stored energy was dissipated or contained while work was being done on the sluice, and was fined $75,000. Edward Maybee pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure that workers worked in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and Regulations, and was fined $3,000.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert G. Boychyn. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
St. Marys Cement was found guilty of a contravention of section 185, subsection 7 of the Ontario ‘Mining and Mining Plants’ regulation 854/90 which states,
“If any work is being done on a machine,
(a) The moving parts shall be stopped;
(b) Any hydraulic, pneumatic or gravity stored energy shall be dissipated or contained;
(c) Energy isolating devices shall be installed if the machine is not already equipped with them; and
(d) All energy isolating devices shall be properly engaged, locked and tagged.”
St. Marys Cement was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
The St. Marys Cement supervisor, Edward Maybee, was found guilty of a contravention of section 27, subsection 1 (a) of the same Occupational Health and Safety Act 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.”
I was wondering if St. Mary’s ever had a set of written work instructions dealing with this type of repair procedure? If they did not, then they should have, but, if they did, they obviously did not conduct a pre-meeting to discuss all the potential hazards to do with the job.
The occupational health and safety act lists a precise definition for ‘competency’ under the law. It states,
“‘Competent person’ means a person who,
(a) Is qualified because of knowledge, training and experience to organize the work and its performance,
(b) Is familiar with this Act and the regulations that apply to the work, and
(c) Has knowledge of any potential or actual danger to health or safety in the workplace.”
The supervisor should always ensure that their workers are confident and most of all competent, to handle the job at hand.
Section 25 of the OHSA is explicit in the demands on the employer. Section 2, subsection (a) states,
“An employer shall,
(a) Provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”
This particular section could have been used to raise the fine total but was not.
All employers must understand their workers’ rights which include a safe work area,and their own responsibilities to deal with those rights. Lately, I came to the conclusion that any company in today’s work environment should consider hiring, at least for the short-term, a health and safety professional. The health and safety professional will do everything reasonable to ensure the company becomes compliant with the health and safety law in effect today.
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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.