Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Impex Granite & Marble Ltd., a Concord importer and distributor of granite and marble, was fined $70,000 on June 26, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed.
On May 24, 2007, workers were unloading slabs of granite from a container. The slabs, weighing between 226 and 454 kilograms each, were in bundles of 10 held together by wooden braces. While the workers were cutting the wooden braces, one broke, causing that bundle of granite and three others to tip sideways and pin one of the workers to the side of the container. The worker suffered fatal crushing injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there was nothing to stop the granite from tipping onto a worker once the braces were cut.
Impex Granite & Marble Ltd. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to ensure the granite was transported, placed and stored so that it would not tip, collapse or fall, and it could be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Carol Seglins. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Impex Granite and Marble Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 45(b) which states,
“Materials, articles or things shall be transported, placed or stored so that the material, article or thing will not tip collapse or fall, and can be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker.”
IMPEX Granite had every opportunity to review the support structures dealing with granite. Here we find then cutting the wooden braces while heavy granite slabs could have been removed or better supported.
The H&S co-ordinator should have realized the danger and placed corrective action into place. If there was a JHSC, then their review of the procedure would have been helpful and corrective action applied.
Again, when heavy objects are worked around then every possible scenario needs to be researched and a corrective action plan initiated.
Why would there not be more care taken around heavy objects like granite slabs!
By the way, the company could have been charged with multiple personal fines under section 25, for the employer as well under section 27, the supervisor.
It is too bad that this particular company did not adopt a proper health and safety attitude, which should come directly from the top, and have that attitude filter down through the organization. It always starts from the top and, in this case, the blame was placed directly where it needed to be. Too bad a worker had to die on the job before a fundamental shift to proper worker health and safety was adopted. Every employer needs to know that the employee health and safety is their #1 responsibility!
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.