Blog Post #740 – SGS Canada Inc. Fined $55,000 after Worker Injured, Loses Part of Finger

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

SGS Canada Inc., a company that provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $55,000 after a worker lost part of a finger in a machine.

On February 11, 2013, a worker at the company’s lab facilities at 185 Concession Street in Lakefield was operating a drop weight tester machine. The company provides metallurgical services to clients and the drop weight tester machine is used for the characterization of rock samples. The machine drops a steel weight onto the rock sample from various heights.

The machine was supporting a weight of about 50 kilograms (110 pounds) when the cable supporting the weight broke and the weight fell about one metre (about three feet). The worker’s hand was inside the machine and the worker was brushing fragments from a previous test when the weight fell. The worker sustained cuts and bruising and had part of a finger amputated.

A Ministry of Labour engineering report concluded that the cable supporting the weight failed as a result of mechanical damage caused by the cable repeatedly moving over the sharp edge of the keeper under load. The report stated that regular maintenance on the wire rope was required to ensure that the wire rope was in proper working condition, and that regular maintenance was not performed.

SGS Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the drop weight tester machine was maintained in good condition, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company was fined $55,000 by Justice of the Peace Peter J. Hiscox in Provincial Offences Court in Peterborough On December 22, 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

SGS Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 2 (a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall,

(a) Provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

I was very surprised that section 25, 2(a) was used because the reason for the accident was attributed, after the thorough investigation by the Ministry of Labour (MOL) reported that the machines was not properly maintained. That information would lead the MOL to use section 25, subsection 1(b) which states,

“An employer shall ensure,

(b) The equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”

Either way, SGS Canada Inc. needed to ensure that a proper preventative maintenance schedule was used. It would have gone a long way in preventing the accident. If they DID use a proper schedule then they did not learn from the data provided.

P.S. They also should have had access to and utilize the manufacturer’s manuals to properly design and implement the correct maintenance schedule.

Due Diligence!

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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