Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Automobile manufacturer Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada Inc. has pleaded guilty and has been fined $65,000 after a worker who was caught in a moving production line suffered injuries that included arm fractures.
On October 1, 2013, a worker at the company’s assembly plant at 1717 Dundas Street in Woodstock was employed on an instrument panel line, performing assembly-related tasks along a chain-driven conveyor. The worker noticed part of the production line, called automated guided vehicles, was running in slow mode rather than at the normal production mode. This part of the production line requires a re-set to get back into production mode.
Hoping to prevent stalling or a shut-down, the worker reached under the line to press the re-set button while the line was still in operation. In doing so, one of the worker’s arms became trapped between the moving line and the stationary power platform. The worker’s arm was fractured in multiple places and required surgery.
By law, an employer must ensure that a machine is stopped when it is being adjusted or repaired if motion of the machine may endanger a worker. Toyota pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the Occupational Health and Safety Act were carried out.
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada was fined $65,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Provincial Offences Court 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada was found guilty of a contravention of section 75 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.”
Toyota Motor Manufacturing Canada was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(a) The equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided.”
My last life was in the auto industry. There is such a demand for numbers that any line stoppage is dealt with harshly if no legitimate reason for the stoppage is apparent. In fact, there was many a time that production lines would continue whether safety was an issue or not.
I wager that this type of practice was a regular part of the maintenance procedures. Yes, there were written procedures outlining the correct way to do things BUT reality may be a different thing all together.
Please ensure that your workers take no shortcuts when it comes to safety. If you are at the head of the company then this type of attitude starts at the top and filters down to all levels of the company. Safety is not just a word but a living, breathing entity and must be allowed to grow. Your workforce will be happy to see the culture change and appreciate it.
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.