Blog Post #758 – Brantford Company Fined $170,000 after Worker Crushed Under Equipment

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Massilly North America Inc. / Massilly Amerique de Nord Inc., a producer of metal twist caps and closures for the food and beverage industry, pleaded guilty and was fined $170,000 after a worker was killed by a moving platform.

On May 4, 2013, at the company’s facility at 406 Elgin Street in Brantford, a worker was called to troubleshoot a problem with a conveyor platform. The steel platform operates both horizontally and vertically; a control button lifts the platform to a vertical/elevated position to allow for cleaning and adjustment of equipment located under the platform. The movement takes place by way of a pneumatic cylinder connected to the undercarriage of the platform that raises and lowers the platform in a slow and controlled manner.

On the day in question, the platform was not operating properly and could not be lowered from the elevated vertical position down into the horizontal position. To repair it, the worker removed part of the perimeter barrier guarding, proceeded to crawl under and into the space directly below the platform and removed the air line from the pneumatic cylinder fitting. Another worker was asked to push on the Down button and the platform came down suddenly in a free-fall mode, striking and pinning the worker attempting the repair.

In normal operating conditions, exhaust air would exit the cylinder in a controlled way through control valves and an air cushion would be maintained in the cylinder to help lower the platform to the horizontal position slowly and in a controlled manner.

Emergency services were summoned but the worker had succumbed to the injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the pneumatic cylinder was in proper working condition but that insufficient interlocks were in place on the elevated equipment or elsewhere on the equipment to protect a worker from the hazard caused by the raised platform. The investigation concluded that hazardous energy (gravity) that could cause injury to staff performing work inside a hazard zone was not adequately controlled.

Massilly North America Inc. / Massilly Amerique de Nord Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the necessary measures and procedures prescribed by law were carried out, and was fined $170,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Patrice Valeriano in Provincial Offences Court in Brantford on February 4, 2015. 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:

Massilly North America Inc. / Massilly Amerique de Nord Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 74 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“Machinery, equipment or material that is temporarily elevated and under which a worker may pass or work shall be securely and solidly blocked to prevent the machinery, equipment or material from falling or moving.”

Massilly North America Inc. / Massilly Amerique de Nord Inc. 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,

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

Section 74 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation is very explicit. If there is any chance that any machinery can move while temporarily elevated and while people can pass or work underneath then the machine has to be properly blocked to prevent it.

Where was the supervisor here? Why was section 74 not included in the SOPs as part of a top notch safety culture? Why did the HR department not take control of the safety portion of their mandate and ensure worker safety?

All these questions were not been answered at the time of the accident, obviously!

Section 25, subsection 2 (a) and (h) of the OHSA were also violated and if the supervisor did not understand his/her responsibility here then section 25, subsection 2 (c) was also violated.

Please ensure your company has read the appropriate sections of the Act and sector regulations. It is the law and your workers are entitled to a safe work area.

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 Maintenance Safety’ 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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