Blog Post #57 – Brewers Retail Inc. Fined $120,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpts from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

Brewers Retail Inc. was fined $120,000 on February 10, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) that caused an injury to a worker.

On August 28, 2008, two workers were delivering beer at a restaurant in Oshawa. The delivery truck had a tailgate, or a platform that can be raised and lowered. The tailgate had a ramp on its end. This could be lifted to become a barrier to keep things on the tailgate. One of the workers wheeled a pallet truck of bottles onto the tailgate. The second worker raised the tailgate, but neither of the workers lifted the ramp. While on the raised tailgate, the first worker pressed the reverse button on the pallet truck. The worker and the truck fell off the tailgate. The worker’s ankle was fractured.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the injured worker had not received training on the safe use of the pallet truck or the tailgate.

Brewers Retail Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure materials were moved in a way that would not endanger the safety of any worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Constance McIlwain. 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:

The employer should have read about their responsibility for the safety and welfare of their workers.

The company was convicted under section 45 of the Industrial Regulations, 851, states,

“Material, articles or things,”

(a) required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.

The company may also have been found guilty of section 25 of the ACT, sub-section 2(a)

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”

No instruction was given. Pallet trucks are class 3 forklifts and, under CSA (Canadian Standard) B335 — 15, an operator must receive training prior to any use of the vehicle. B335-15 instructs trainers about the kind of training and the intervals between training. The suggested time-frame between training is to be three years, with an in-house refresher at eighteen month intervals.

The supervisor must also ensure that his/her workers are competent under the ACT to perform the work.

Section 27 of the ACT, sub section 2(c) states,

“The supervisor shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the work.”

Our company has trained 15,000 + students (As of March 2020, it is now 28, 500) in numerous courses such as Forklift Certification and Re-Certification, Fall Protection, Confined Space Entry, Aerial Work Platform, Basic Certification Level 1 & 2, just to name a few. Many companies do not see the benefits of proper training but I wager Brewers Retail has regularly scheduled training courses, on everything they will need, from now on.

I wonder if the Health & Safety Co-ordinator is looking for employment as it was his/her responsibility to know the letter of the law and to follow it.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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