Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Steel producer ArcelorMittal Dofasco Inc. was fined $60,000 after a worker was overcome by gas fumes and lost consciousness at the company’s Burlington Street East plant.
On February 20, 2014, at the company’s Blast Furnace #3, a crew of workers was cleaning Dustcatcher #3 using water blasted at high pressure through rods in order to break up material. The material did not break up and fall down into the bin as desired, and instead, caused a blockage. One worker opened the side door (the onion), and poked at the blockage with a shovel. The action broke through the blockage and gas was released. The worker was overcome by the gas and lost consciousness temporarily. Loss of consciousness is defined as a ‘critical injury’ under Ontario Regulation 834.
Section 3(1) of Ontario Regulation 833, Control to Exposure of Biological Agents, states that “every employer shall take all measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect workers from exposure to a hazardous biological or chemical agent because of the storage, handling, processing or use of such agent in the workplace.” In addition, Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act states that “an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
ArcelorMittal Dofasco failed to take all measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect the stricken worker from exposure to the gas. The company pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Jerry Woloschuk in Hamilton court on September 21, 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
ArcelorMittal Dofasco was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario regulation 833, ‘Control to Exposure of Biological Agents’, section 3, subsection 1 which states,
“Every employer shall take all measures reasonably necessary in the circumstances to protect workers from exposure to a hazardous biological or chemical agent because of the storage, handling, processing or use of such agent in the workplace.”
ArcelorMittal Dofasco 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 was an original mention of the “Critical Injury” as defined in the Ontario regulation 834. There are many items that are listed in the definition.
“ ‘critically injured’ means an injury of a serious nature that,
(a) places life in jeopardy,
(b) produces unconsciousness,
(c) results in substantial loss of blood,
(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,
(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,
(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or
(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.”
Why was a JHA not completed prior? (Job Hazard Analysis or Assessment). A proper assessment would have identified the hazard and better protected the worker.
Same type of issue is happening more and more. A safety culture would have changed the outcome, I truly believe that.
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’, ‘Chemical Safety Awareness’, ‘WHMIS’ 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.