Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Durez Canada Company Limited, a Toronto-based manufacturer of resins and plastics, was fined $70,000 on June 26, 2009, for violations under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was seriously injured. A company supervisor, Pat Driver, was also fined $3,000 in relation to the case on May 1, 2009.
On October 18, 2006, a worker was on the roof of the company’s plant in Fort Erie, performing maintenance on lines and equipment used to move steam in the plant. One part of the equipment lay outside the guardrails around the roof. The worker stepped outside the guardrail to perform maintenance tasks and fell 15.85 metres, landing on metal barrels. The worker sustained serious head, arm, leg and hand injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that proper fall protection measures and procedures were not carried out at the workplace. Also, the worker had not been provided with training and supervision to work safely on a demister pot, and the company had not provided the worker with a safe work procedure to use when working with the demister pot. The investigation also found that a supervisor, Pat Driver, had failed to ensure the worker used the protective devices, measures and procedures prescribed by law.
After trial, Durez Canada Company Limited was found guilty under the OHSA of:
– failing to ensure the worker was provided with adequate fall protection in the circumstances, and
– failing to provide instruction, information and supervision to the worker to protect the health and safety of that worker.
Pat Driver was found guilty under the OHSA of failing, as a supervisor, to ensure the worker used the appropriate fall protection devices, measures, and procedures for the circumstances.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Mary Shelley. In addition to the fines, 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Durez Canada Company Limited was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 85 which states,
“Where a worker is exposed to the hazard of falling and the surface to which he or she might fall is more than 3 metres below the position where he or she is situated,
a) the worker shall wear a serviceable safety belt or harness and lifeline adequately secured to a fixed support and so arranged that the worker cannot fall freely for a vertical distance of more than 1.5 metres, and
b) the fall arresting system described in clause (a) shall
I. have sufficient capacity to absorb twice the energy and twice the load that under the circumstances of its use may be transmitted to it, and
II. be equipped with a shock absorber or other devices to limit the maximum arresting force to 8 kilonewtons. (about 1,800 pound-force)
Law #2 — Section 25, subsection 1(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Law #3 — Section 25, subsection 2(a) of the OHSA which states,,
“An employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.”
The supervisor, Pat Driver, pleaded guilty to section 85 of the Ontario regulation 851, listed above, but was also convicted of a contravention of,
Law #4 — Section 27, subsection 1(a) of the OHSA which states,
“A supervisor shall ensure that a worker works in a manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this ACT and the regulations.”
The company may well have been found guilty of section 25 of the ACT, subsection 2(c)
“An employer shall, when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.”
The supervisor was found incompetent in his understanding of the law but it was the employer’s responsibility to make sure that Pat Driver, the supervisor in question, was properly instructed on the OHSA and the appropriate regulations.
A thorough orientation program for supervision covers these key components:
1) Health and Safety law;
2) The hazards associated with the job(s);
3) Supervisor’s responsibility under the ACT (section 25 and 27);
4) Accident/incident reporting and the governmental reporting requirements; and
5) Daily, weekly and monthly ‘walk-arounds’ as part of ‘Due Diligence’ just to name a few.
Pat Driver would have greatly benefited from this type of training and it may have saved the employee from the severe injuries to which he/she suffered. The company needs to incorporate this type of training to all levels of supervision to better protect their workers.
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 The Supervisor and Health and Safety Law. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.