Blog Post #626 – Blount Canada Ltd. Fined $60,000 after Worker Suffers Burns

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Blount Canada Ltd., a manufacturer of replacement parts, equipment and accessories for forestry, lawn and garden in Guelph, has been fined $60,000 for a violation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On November 15, 2012 a worker at the company’s manufacturing plant at 505 Edinburgh Road North in Guelph was being trained on the use of machines known as Harperizers. The machines deburr metal parts used in making chains for chain saws.

The worker loaded both of two barrels on the machine and ran it through its usual 30-minute cycle. At the completion of the cycle, the trainer checked the metal parts and determined that they were bad. At the trainer’s direction, the worker added water and re-ran the cycle for an additional 30 minutes.

At the conclusion of the second cycle, the trainer opened the first barrel without incident; the worker began to open the second barrel by removing the screws on a clamping bar. As the second screw was loosened, the worker was struck by a blast of hot water and steam escaping from inside the barrel. The worker suffered burns to the abdomen and legs.

Blount Canada Ltd. pleaded guilty in Guelph court to failing to ensure that a machine was shielded or guarded so that the product or material being processed or waste stock will not endanger the safety of any worker.

The fine of $60,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cutherbertson.

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:

Blount Canada Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of 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.”

Blount Canada Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act OHSA which states,

“The employer shall ensure that,

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

I guess the employer never completed a proper hazard assessment of the operation or this type of accident could have been avoided. Where was the supervisor? Supervising the training? I think not!

The trainer could have been charged under section 27 of the OHSA if he/she was aware of the danger and did not notify the worker. If the supervisor was unaware of the hazard then the employer is at fault under section 25, subsection 2, (c) of the OHSA, which states,

“When appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”

Protect your workforce! That is the message the Ministry of Labour is sending out to all employers.

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’, ‘Machine Guarding, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ 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
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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