Blog Post #706 – Home Depot of Canada Inc. Fined $90,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Home Depot of Canada Inc., a home improvement retailer, has been fined $90,000 after a worker was injured by falling merchandise in the company’s store in Bradford.

On April 27, 2013, a worker was preparing to receive a load of merchandise from a trailer backed into the receiving area of the store located at 470 Holland Street West. The receiving area had three bays, with doors that open by rolling along tracks upward and then away from the door frame. Racks had been built in front of the doors and above them; pallets of patio doors standing upright and wrapped in plastic had been placed in the overhead racks of two of the bays.

One worker opened a bay door while another was moving items on the floor to clear a path for merchandise from the trailer. As the top of the door rolled away from the door frame, it came into contact with a pallet of patio doors. The pallet tipped and fell about 11 feet, striking the worker who was moving the merchandise. The worker suffered injuries to the head, resulting in paralysis and fractures. A Ministry of Labour investigation followed.

The original engineered design of the racking system had provided for a steel beam. Had it been installed as planned, it would have prevented the placement of the pallets of patio doors on the overhead racks. The beam was not installed. In addition, a bottom beam of the overhead rack had been installed 12 inches higher than the maximum allowed on the engineered plan. This contravened a provincial safety regulation that requires objects in a workplace to be placed or stored in such a way as not to tip or fall.

Home Depot of Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out in the workplace – in this case, that a pallet loaded with patio doors was placed and/or stored in a position that allowed it to tip when the load made contact with the bay door. The company was fined $90,000 by Justice of the Peace Brian O. Norton.

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:

Home Depot of Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 section 45(b)(i), which states,

“Material, articles or things,

(b) Shall be transported, placed or stored so that the material, articles or things,

(i) Will not tip, collapse or fall.”

Home Depot of Canada Inc. 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.”

Another employer not understanding its role in the safety of their workers. How can employer such as this one not complete an operation to engineering standards? Why do we have engineering standards anyway? There are not needed if we work safe. NOT!

Always ensure you workplace is a safe place. Follow any engineering protocols and standards because the experts have taken the time to give you the very best in safe operation and application. If you do not heed these words then an accident such as this will happen over and over again.

By the way,

On another note, I watched a worker, opposite to my house, using a chopsaw/quick cut saw, without the following PPE;

1) Safety Goggles or Face Shield;
2) Hearing Protection;
3) Hard Hat;
4) Proper Respirator; and

He also was not following the manufacturer’s proper start-up procedure for the saw. He lifted the saw into the air, off the ground, and pulled on the cord. A real NO NO!

I, therefore, called the MOL and launched a formal complaint. Let’s see where it goes.

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.

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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