Blog Post #718 – McKeown Contracting Fined $60,000 after Worker Loses Arm

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

McKeown Contracting, a business that provides a variety of contracting services for residential and commercial customers, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker lost an arm in a conveyor.

On August 16, 2013, a worker was adjusting a feeder belt on a soil screening conveyor at the McKeown Contracting workplace at 2878 Stagecoach Road in Ottawa. The adjustment was being performed while the belt was running; the worker’s arm was pulled into the conveyor and severed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that a lock-out procedure was not in place at the time of the injury as required by law. A lock-out procedure ensures that workers do not have access to moving parts until all motion has stopped, and that any motion that can re-start and endanger a worker is disabled. As a matter of course the worker adjusted the belts while they were running.

McKeown Contracting, operating as 1092066 Ontario Inc., pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the conveyor was cleaned, adjusted, repaired or had maintenance work performed on it only when motion that may endanger a worker had stopped. The company was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Louisette Girault in Ottawa.

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:

McKeown Contracting was found guilty of a contravention of section 75, subsections (a) and (b) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

(a) Motion that may endanger a worker has stopped; and

(b) Any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

McKeown Contracting was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Ontario Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Section 24 of the ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 could have been used;

“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”

Section 42 of the same ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 could also been used;

“(1) The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations, equipment or conductors.

“(2) Before beginning the work, each worker shall determine if the requirements of subsection (1) have been complied with.”

Either way you slice it, this company was not following any set of safe work procedures. If they were, and the worker(s) were properly supervised, this type of accident would have been avoided and the worker would have gone home in good shape and able to return to work the next working day. Now we have a worker whose life has been changed forever. His or her quality of life has been diminished forever. Somehow, $60,000 does not seem enough.

What is your opinion?

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 Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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