Blog Post #804 – McKenzie Lumber Inc. Fined $48,000 After Machine Crushes Worker’s Arm

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Following a trial, McKenzie Lumber Inc. has been found guilty and sentenced to a fine of $48,000 after a worker’s arm was crushed by an industrial log-sawing machine.

On March 12, 2013, workers were on the McKenzie Lumber Inc. worksite at 120 Mills Road in Hudson, Ontario (near Sioux Lookout), using an industrial saw machine that cuts round logs into board lumber. The machine’s master control panel contains the lock-outs for the electrical and hydraulic systems; a field control box is used to open and close the ‘clamshell’ which contains the saw towers as well as the machine’s side canters (the side canters grip the logs in place).

On that day, the machine had a breakdown and a production worker on the shift was notified. The operator turned the machine off and went to the master control panel to lock out the electrical breakers. The operator then left the area. The side canters were not blocked by the operator and the clamshell was open, revealing the side canters.

Normally, if a clean-out procedure needed to be done between the side canters, the hydraulics to the canters would be locked out on the master control panel. However, a worker had been called in to do maintenance on the saw blades, and the usual procedure was to leave on the hydraulics so the saw tower could be raised to allow the work on the saw blades to be done. This meant the canters were also open, as they were operated using the same hydraulics and field control box as the saw tower.

As the saw change was being performed, an alarm sounded and the production worker noted that a piece of metal was on the machine’s conveyor belt. The production worker took the metal piece and left the area. In the meantime, the saw maintenance work was completed and the worker assigned to that task went to the field control box to switch it to “on” so that the side canters would close. The worker did not notice that the production worker had climbed into the machine near the side canters and was gesturing with an arm into the area below the side canters. The side canters grabbed the production worker’s arm and the arm was crushed.

The trial took place on December 1, 2014 in Sioux Lookout; Justice of the Peace Danalyn J. MacKinnon rendered her decision on March 19, 2015 in Dryden court. The sentencing took place on August 11, 2015 in Dryden.

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:

McKenzie Lumber Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ Regulation 851/90, section 75(b) 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,

(b) any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

McKenzie Lumber Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) section 25(1)(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

Part of the lockout and tagout procedure it to ensure that all rubbish, tools and especially persons are not in the affected area. This was, clearly, not the case.

All aspects of lockout and tagout as well as preventative maintenance on machinery must follow all safety requirements as laid out be the employer. If the employer does not have a set of safe written work instructions then workers will be at risk. In this case, it was just a matter of time. (this includes everyone in the affected area)

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ 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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