Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Bombardier Inc. and its aerospace division has been fined $75,000 after a worker fell from a scissor lift at its Toronto facility, suffering a head injury and broken bones.
On July 24, 2013, the worker at the company’s facility at 123 Garratt Boulevard was working on a plane engine and used a scissor lift to do so. The worker fell about five feet to the concrete floor below. The worker’s other injuries included a dislocation and scrapes.
A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the worker fell because the end gate of the scissor lift was held open by plastic ties and the latch was taped over. The investigation also determined that the worker did not carry out the required daily check on the lift before using it.
Bombardier Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer were maintained in good condition at the workplace, and was fined $75,000.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Catherine M. Shoniker in Toronto court December 12, 2014.
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:
Bombardier Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (b) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“The employer shall ensure that,
The equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”
How could any employer, especially one as large as Bombardier Inc. fail to protect their workers by ensuring that section 1 (b) was being complied with?
I had a chance to see this particular section violated during my many years in health and safety. Here is my story.
A training class full of students receiving lift truck re-certification was underway when we came to section 25, subsection 1 (b). The explanation was made that any defects found during the inspection/operational check MUST be reported to the supervisor for immediate fix. What I did not know was that there were 6 lift trucks damaged or defective in some way or another, (bad brakes, severe leaks, loose steering etc.) and have been for a few months. None looked to be repaired in the near future. I was asked not to take this part of the training too seriously since, in the real world, things do not always get fixed right away, at least at this facility.
The worker rep. of the Joint Health and Safety Committee, (JHSC) was notified and asked to place the following on the next agenda;
1) The Plant Manager was to be notified that he was now in violation of section 25, subsection 1 (b) of the OHSA times 6 times $25,000 for a total of $150,000.
Now, if anyone was hurt or killed during the operation of a suspected defective lift truck then he would be directly responsible. Well, he came flying out of that office and went to the Maintenance Manager and asked why repairs were moving at such a sluggish pace. The Maintenance Manager replied that parts were sometimes hard to come by.
The Plant Manager went out, then and there, and leased 6 new lift trucks and planned to keep the leases until repairs were made. (Actually, two of the leased lift trucks are still there because two of the original could not be satisfactorily repaired and were finally scrapped.
In the end, the Plant Manager found out that he was to ensure that the green book was being complied with. It can be difficult for a member of management to hear that they may be directly responsible for fines and possible jail terms and have the particular section of the OHSA or appropriate sector regulation explained to you.
Remember, ensure that your workplace is a safe place. Read sections 25 and 26 of the OHSA for employer responsibilities, section 27 for supervisor responsibilities and section 28 for workers. It will go a long way in the protection of the workforce.
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’, ‘Elevating Work Platform Certification’ 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