Blog Post #130 – CHEP Canada Inc. Fined $75,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

CHEP Canada Inc., a Mississauga maker and repairer of wooden pallets, was fined $75,000 on August 11, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On February 22, 2008, at the company’s Brampton facility, a bi-fold table, with two sides that can be raised to support a pallet standing on its edge, was stuck in the upright position. A maintenance worker, asked to repair it, tried to hold the table’s side up when it started to come down on its own. The worker was pushed to the ground and suffered wrist injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that locking pins had been placed to support the table in its upright position. But, they had been removed some time before the worker’s repairs were finished. Also, the company had not instructed or informed the worker of its lockout procedures for this bi-fold table.

CHEP Canada Inc. pleaded guilty, under the OHSA, to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision on lockout procedures for the bi-fold tables to all workers who use or repair them.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Hilda Weiss. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, 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:

CHEP Canada Inc. was convicted under section 25, subsection 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

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

Again we find another employer not putting safety at the forefront of their business. What did they get out of this? They received a black eye, a tarnished reputation and a possible lawsuit for failing to protect their worker.

How simple it is for a workplace to be deemed safe by the MOL. All one ever has to do is review the sector specific regulations of the OHSA. All the 4 major sectors, construction, industrial, mining and healthcare, includes the ACT in the front. Section 25 is very clear and the employer has to do everything reasonable in the circumstance for the protection of the worker. (section 25, 2 (h))

CHEP could have also been convicted under section 42, subsection 1 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’regulation 851/90  which states,

“The power supply to electrical installations, equipment or conductors shall be disconnected, locked out of service and tagged before any work is done, and while it is being done, on or near live exposed parts of the installations equipment or conductors.”

I believe CHEP Canada Inc. knows the real score. Personal fines max out at $25,000 per contravention per person and company fines max out at $500,000 , one can see that CHEP was given a real chance to make things right. I do hope they hire someone, short term or long term, with a working knowledge of the ACT. A properly trained H&S Coordinator will guide the company through the dark recesses of the ACT and its appropriate regulations. Avoiding convictions will be a direct result of CHEP Canada Inc. improving health and safety in the workplace and having a plan in place for ‘Continuous Improvement’.

Let’s hope so.

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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