Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Equipment Sales & Service Ltd., a company providing maintenance services and parts for heavy equipment and machinery, pleaded guilty and was fined $100,000 in the death of a worker at its Etobicoke facility.
On June 3, 2013, two workers were tasked with conducting repairs to a malfunctioning truck crane. The two had developed a system whereby one would work on the crane while it was stopped, then step away to a safe distance clear of the crane’s swing path while the other worker would operate the malfunctioning throttle and swing the crane upper – the portion of the crane located above the crane deck.
The operator/worker began to swing the crane upper after observing the other worker standing clear of the swing path. While it was swinging, the operator lost sight of the other worker, who was next seen lying on the crane deck beneath the crane counterweight. Help was called but the worker was pronounced dead. It was apparent that the worker had been in the vicinity of the transmission pit on the crane deck when the crane body swung, striking and pinning the worker. The worker suffered head injuries.
The subsequent Ministry of Labour investigation concluded that the crane operator’s sight lines to the crane deck and the ground would be either fully or partly obstructed during certain orientations of the crane, resulting in blind spots or obstructed views. Similarly, the worker on the ground would periodically lose eye contact with the crane operator depending on the position of the worker and the crane upper.
The company was fined $100,000 by Justice of the Peace Andrew C. Clark at the 70 Centre Street court on March 5, 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:
Equipment Sales & Service Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of section 56 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,
“Where the operator of a vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment does not have a full view of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment or its load, the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment shall only be operated as directed by a signaler who is a competent person and who is stationed,
(a) In full view of the operator;
(b) With a full view of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment and its load; and
(c) Clear of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment and its load.”
Equipment Sales & Service Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) The measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
There are at least 3 questions that should been raised:
1) Where were the safe written instructions for this type of operation?
2) Where and when was the toolbox discussion by the supervisor/employer identifying all possible hazards and their controls, and
3) Why was section 56 not explained prior to the operation?
What type of permanent correction plan was established, motivated by the Ministry of Labour (MOL), before the investigation was completed?
Remember, ensure your workplace is a safe place. Establish health and safety into your companies SOPs as a way to better protect your workers. You will certainly be glad you did!
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’, ‘ Overhead Crane 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
HRS Group Inc.