Blog Post #682 – Johnson Controls Fined $155,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Johnson Controls Automotive Canada LP, a manufacturer of foam seats for the automotive industry, has been fined $155,000 after a worker was killed when a hook holding open a metal lid broke.

On January 29, 2013, a worker was performing maintenance on a metal mould in the Johnson Controls plant at 100 Townline Road in Tillsonburg. Moulds were typically moved from the production area by a lift truck and set down on a cradle in the maintenance area to allow them to be worked on.

The worker had opened and raised the lid of the mould, which was held open by a J-shaped metal hook attached to a one-ton-capacity overhead electric hoist. While the worker was performing work on the mould under the elevated lid, the hook broke in half, causing the lid to strike the worker on the head and crushing the worker between the lid and the lower section of the mould. The resulting injuries were fatal.

A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that no blocking devices had been used to prevent the elevated lid from closing while the worker was beneath it, contrary to Section 74 of Ontario Regulation 851 for Industrial Establishments and Section 25(1) (c) of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Johnson Controls pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that machinery, equipment or material that is temporarily elevated and under which a worker may pass or work was securely and solidly blocked to prevent the machinery, equipment or material from falling or moving.

The $155,000 fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Sonia Aleong in Woodstock.

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:

Johnson Controls was found guilty of a contravention of section 74 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90 which states,

“Machinery, equipment or material that is temporarily elevated and under which a worker may pass or work shall be securely and solidly blocked to prevent the machinery, equipment or material from falling or moving.”

Johnson Controls was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Johnson Controls is not a small company. They are a large part of the auto supply industry and should have had the key personnel that knew better. All procedures need to have a set of safe written instructions and would have helped if the joint health and safety committee (JHSC) was asked to get involved and review and relevant legislation that they may have to deal with.

Every employer must comply with the Act. It is the law! How it is driven is by the sector regulation that your company is involved in. Johnson Controls deals with the Industrial world so 851/90 applies.

Ensure that your HR department has reviewed relevant legislation prior to any work is to be done. They can better advise management on a game plan for a safe work environment.

I was truly surprised here. My former occupation dealt with the auto industry and I had direct contact with Johnson Controls and their managers seemed very proactive. Maybe things have changed.

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’, ‘Maintenance Safety Awareness’, ‘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 Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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