Blog Post #902 – Worker Critically Injured by Robotic Device, Company Fined $270,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Matcor Automotive Inc., a manufacturer of metal parts for the automotive industry, was convicted after a trial and given a fine of $270,000 after a worker suffered a devastating injury involving a robotic device.

On January 15, 2013 at the workplace situated at 1620 Steeles Avenue East, Brampton, a supervisor was made aware of a problem with a robot cell. The supervisor instructed a maintenance worker to fix the tooling and overheating electrode in the cell.  Believing the matter could be quickly fixed, the worker entered the robot cell through the light curtain and without locking out power to the robot.

In order to reach the part of the tooling to be fixed, the worker was positioned on a railing by the conveyor belt to the left of the tooling. The worker felt pressure and saw it was the robot pressing the back of the worker’s body.

Two workers took the injured worker off the conveyor belt and onto the floor. The worker suffered serious and permanent injury.

After six days at trial, the company was found guilty and was convicted on three counts on February 10, 2016.

The court found that maintenance workers were expected to make a judgment call about how to fix the equipment: if it was a ‘quick fix,’ the practice was to not lock out/tag out, and if it was a longer fix (an hour), then lockout/tagout would occur.

The court also found that there was little effective supervision of workers.

Justice of the Peace Darlene Florence imposed the fine in Brampton court on August 17, 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:

Matcor Automotive Inc. was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 75, subsection (a) 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,

  • motion that may endanger a worker has stopped.”

Matcor Automotive Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the same regulation, this time section 76 which states,

“Where the starting of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing may endanger the safety of a worker,

(a) control switches or other control mechanisms shall be locked out; and

(b) other effective precautions necessary to prevent any starting shall be taken.”

Matcor Automotive Inc. was also in contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2 (a) which states,

“An employer shall,

  • provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

And finally, Matcor Automotive Inc was found guilty of a contravention of the OHSA, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

  • the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

What else is there to be said? The company failed the employee by not having a proper hazard assessment completed and then a set of written instructions listing the proper controls of those identified hazards. If the company failed to identify the hazards, TOO BAD!

To Lockout or Not to Lockout! That should not be the question. Section 76 is very clear and Matcor should be ashamed of themselves for not following a safer work policy. It should never be Production over Safety. The safety needs of the workforce should never be in question.

Please ensure that 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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