Blog Post #240 – Bunge Fined $42K for OHS Violation Involving Injured Sask. Worker

Excerpt from the Regina Leader Post

Bunge Canada Holdings of Halifax, N.S., has pleaded guilty to one count under the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act for failing to ensure that a worker did not work within 4.6 metres of an exposed energized conductor. The company was fined $42,000 in Nipawin Provincial Court on Jan. 25, 2011.

The charge relates to an incident that occurred on Aug. 13, 2009, at a Bunge site in Nipawin. A worker, who was inspecting a railcar, was injured as a result of receiving an electric shock while attempting to remove foreign material located below a power line.

OHS conducts approximately 4,500 work site inspections annually to ensure standards are known and enforced, according to a Labour Relations and Workplace Safety news release.

In fiscal 2011-12, there have been 34 convictions for non-compliance of OHS regulations and more than $146,000 in fines, the release said.

My opinion

Ontario has a section of the OHSA that covers the following term, M.S.A.D.

(Minimum safe approach distance) which states,

Voltage Rating of Conductor & Minimum Distance

750 V to 150,000 V—3 metres (almost 10 feet)
Over 150,000 V to 250,000 V—4.5 metres (about 14.76 feet)
Over 250,000 V—6 metres (19.7 feet)

I also did the math and am very confused. The report reads like a testimonial for excellence for the Saskatchewan government’s somewhat hard-line approach when dealing with occupational health and safety violations. Hmmm… 34 convictions covering more than $146,000 in fines; works out to be around $4,294 per conviction. For many companies that would be the approximate cost for the yearly coffee run. In Ontario, we have a personal minimum of $25,000 with a possibility of a year in jail. The corporate fine can reach $500,000 per contravention conviction.

My blog posts show numerous fines well over the $42,000 personal fine levied at the Bunge Canada Holdings of Halifax. In fact, many of the separate fines in Ontario are larger than the yearly total for the province of Saskatchewan. Someone in the Saskatchewan government needs to review the HRS Group blog post, written on November 22, 2011 discussing the Ford Corporation forklift fines of over $1,000,000. It might be quite the reality check for them. Maybe.

Remember — In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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