Blog Post #837 – Peel District School Board Fined $50,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Peel District School Board (PDSB) pleaded guilty and has been given a fine of $50,000 after a student was injured in a classroom incident that resulted in a fracture injury.

On April 9, 2014, three students at Rick Hansen Secondary School in Mississauga were attending a manufacturing program class and were assigned the task of removing four old caster wheels from a metal table. Sitting atop the metal table was a 450-pound metal industrial shear (a sheet-metal-forming device) that had been brought to the school by the teacher without the knowledge of the school administration.

A warning label on the shear itself indicates that the machine should be secured for stability and safety; the manufacturer’s manual instructs that mounting holes on each of the shear’s four feet should be used to bolt the machine securely to the floor or stand. The shear was not secured but school administration was not aware of that.

As instructed by their teacher the three students used a floor jack to raise one end of the table and cut off one of the legs, including the old caster wheel. One of the students then got the new caster and asked another student to lower the jack to see how the new caster fit on the table leg. When the jack was lowered the table tipped forward and the shear slid off the table, landing on the back of one of the students who was crouched down by the table’s legs.

The three students did not know that the shear was not secured to the work table and at no time did their teacher instruct them to remove the shear from the table before cutting off the table legs.

The student was transported to hospital by ambulance. As a result of being struck by the shear, the student sustained a fracture.

PDSB pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker in a workplace – specifically to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the shear was secured to the surface upon which it was set. The PDSB was fined $50,000 in Brampton court by Justice of the Peace Donald Dudar on January 12, 2016.

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:

Peel District School Board was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25(2)(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

A completed hazard assessment would have recognized the hazards and control of those hazards would have been put into place. Why was this not done?

I wonder about things like this. Students can be looked at as contractors on a job site. Many employers do not seem to understand that that contractors need to be protected and I think the school board dropped the ball here!

The school boards should also have a large and active health and safety committee and these committees should have investigated in their monthly walkabout.

Sometimes, the obvious is staring us in the face and we just do not recognize it!

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’ 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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