Blog Post #266 – Ford Dealership and Supervisor Fined $21,000 Total for Safety Violations

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Miller-Hughes Ford Sales Ltd., a Cornwall automotive dealership, was fined $18,000 on November 24, 2010, for violating the Isocyanates regulation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Kevin MacDonald, a supervisor at the dealership, was fined $3,000 for the same violations.

On January 19, 2010, a Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that spray paints used at the dealership contained Isocyanates, a hazardous chemical and a designated substance under the Act. A worker using the spray paints had not been trained on how to prevent exposure to Isocyanates and was not using adequate personal protective equipment. The worker’s Isocyanates exposure was not monitored and the worker was not receiving medical surveillance.

Miller-Hughes Ford Sales Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that:

– All practical and reasonable engineering controls, work practices and hygiene practices were adopted and implemented to limit a worker’s exposure to Isocyanates
– A worker who handles Isocyanates was provided with appropriate personal protective equipment.

Kevin MacDonald pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Louise Rozon. In addition to the fines, 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:

Miller-Hughes Ford Sales ltd. was found guilty of  a contravention of Ontario regulation 842, section 5 which states,

“Every employer shall,

a) Adopt and implement all such engineering controls, work practices and hygiene practices as are reasonable and practical, and

b) Provide a worker who handles, dispenses, mixes, applies, uses, transfers, disposes of, or deals with Isocyanates and is likely to inhale Isocyanates or come into contact with Isocyanates, with appropriate personal protective equipment and the worker shall use and where the same.”

Kevin MacDonald was found guilty of violating section 27 (c) of the OHSA which states,

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

Since the Bhopal, India accident in December 1984, the Ontario government attempted to set up protection for the worker for the designated substance ‘Isocyanates’. “An Indian government affidavit in 2006 stated the leak caused 558,125 injuries including 38,478 temporary partial and approximately 3,900 severely and permanently disabling injuries.”

The original Ontario regulation covering Isocyanates was listed as:

Ontario regulation 842 — Designated Substance — Isocyanates.

The new regulation took effect in July 2010 and was listed as:

Ontario regulation 490/09. This regulation covers all the previous designated substances except for Asbestos in Construction projects. Ontario regulation 278/05 is still in effect.

The Ontario government has listed 11 substances to be designated and the controls for these dangerous substances are mandatory on the employer, the supervisor and the worker. Here we find that the Ford dealership as well as the supervisor were unaware of the issue and the damage to the worker may be long term.

I would suggest all employers and supervisors dealing with Isocyanates look up the Bhopal, India accident just to see how long term the damage to the employee may be.

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 ‘Chemical Safety’ and ‘Designated Substances’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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