Excerpt from the Ontario government’s ‘Newsroom’
The death of a worker crushed between vehicles has resulted in a combined $176,000 fine for Southern Sanitation Inc. and one of the company’s employees.
Southern Sanitation, operating as Wasteco, was fined $170,000 after pleading guilty to failing to ensure that measures and procedures under the law were followed. An employee, Abdul Maneed Malik, was fined $6,000 after pleading guilty to operating equipment in a manner that may endanger a worker.
On April 15, 2013, a worker backed up a truck into a drop-off bay at a Wasteco waste management transfer station located at 306 Lake Avenue North, Hamilton. There was a front-end loader in the drop-off bay, which is used to push dropped-off waste into a collection area at the back of the bay. The front-end loader was being operated by Malik.
The worker/driver left the truck and proceeded to the back of the truck where the bin doors remained open. Malik, using the front-end loader, pushed the waste toward the back of the drop-off bay and then reversed the front-end loader. He did not have any visual contact with the truck driver but prior to reversing the front-end loader Malik saw the driver in the cab of the truck.
After hearing a call for help Malik stopped the loader and saw the worker face down on the ground behind the truck. He ran for help while another driver and another employee attempted first aid on the victim, who was later pronounced dead. A pathologist report indicated that the cause of death was blunt-force trauma consistent with compression.
At Provincial Offices Court on April 1, Wasteco pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that safety measures and procedures as prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act were carried out. Malik pleaded guilty to failing to operate a vehicle in a manner that did not endanger another worker. The total $176,000 fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hugh Brown.
Wasteco operates seven waste management facilities throughout Ontario and employs about 150 workers.
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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Wasteco was found guilty of a contravention of section 25 subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,
“The employer shall ensure that,
(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Employee, Abdul Maneed Malik, was found guilty of a contravention of section 28, subsection 2 (b) which states,
“No worker shall,
Use or operate any equipment, machine, device or thing or work in a manner that may endanger himself, herself or any other worker.”
Why was there not a set of safe written work instructions for Abdul? Was he even properly trained on this particular machine? Where was his supervisor? Was the supervisor even aware of the dangers?
All these questions, and more, should have driven up the fines. I believe the justice attached the appropriate size of fine and it was good to see that operators are being held accountable.
I still feel the employer had more responsibility in this case. All dangers associated with the front end loader MUST be identified, assessed and controlled prior to any work being done. Wasteco should have known better.
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’ 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.