Blog Post #550 – Encore Steel Fined $75,000 after Worker Fatally Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Encore Steel, an Ottawa steel fabricator, was fined $75,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was fatally injured.

On June 4, 2012, two workers were loading steel beams onto a truck at an Encore Steel industrial facility located at 1090 Cummings Avenue in Ottawa. When the truck was loaded, one of the workers climbed up on to the load of beams to ensure that they were stable and to help strap them down. While standing on the load, that worker instructed the other to use a forklift to move a beam closer to the middle of the truck. The worker standing on the load remained there while the other used the forklift to move the beam.

The beam slipped off the forks and knocked the worker off the truck. The worker fell 9.5 feet (2.9 metres) to the ground and sustained fatal injuries.

Encore Steel pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that materials were lifted, carried, or moved in a way that did not endanger a worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John A. Balkwill. 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:

Encore Steel was found guilty of a contravention of section 45, subsection (a) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 951/90 which states,

“Material, articles or things,

(a) required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Encore Steel was also found guilty of violating section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(b) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

What a foolish thing to happen! Using a forklift as a lifting device while others are present! Why would an employer go out of their way to put one of their employees at risk? Why was there not a supervisor present that was trained in the regulations so that he/she could have refused to allow the workers to work unsafe? Why was there not a set of safe work instructions to go along with this particular event?

I cannot say. There MUST be a set of instructions, re-evaluated every year, for each and every operation at a place of employment.

Incorporating health and safety into each aspect of the business is the responsibility of the employer. If one cannot see fit to protect his/her workforce then the MOL has ways of dealing with them.

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 ‘Forklift Certification’ and ‘Forklift Re-Certification’. 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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