Blog Post #296 – Metro Ontario Inc. Fined $350,000 after Young Worker Killed

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Metro Ontario Inc., a retail grocer, was fined $350,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a young worker’s death.

On August 7, 2009, at the company’s store on Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga, a young worker was helping the assistant store manager clear materials from the top of a cooler beside the meat department. The meat department was covered by a drop ceiling made up of acoustic tiles. The drop ceiling was accessible from the top of the cooler but it was not meant to be weight-bearing.

While removing materials from the top of the cooler, the assistant store manager indicated that a box needed to be removed from on top of the drop ceiling. The young worker stepped onto the drop ceiling to remove the box and fell through. The young worker suffered a fatal head injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that there was no guardrail separating the drop ceiling from the area above the cooler.

Metro Ontario Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a guardrail was in place to prevent workers from accessing the drop ceiling.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Milagros Eustaquio-Syme. In addition to the fine, 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:

Metro Ontario Inc. was found guilty of violating section 13(1)(c) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851 which states,

“There shall be a guardrail,

c) Around a machine, electrical installation, place or thing that is likely to endanger the safety of any worker.”

The task should have been discussed and all the hazards identified prior to the attempt. It happens all too often that an employee is seriously hurt or killed because of the blatant disregard for the safety of the employee by the employer. It happens much too often but it still gets under my skin after completing the research for the blog post.

As an employer, please take your time with any task at hand. The worker’s safety should be your paramount concern and we need to educate all the employers in this direction.

I wonder what your opinion is. Is the large fine ($350,000) (plus a 25% victim fine surcharge, which is $87,500) a deterrent?  I do hope so!

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 ‘Fall Protection’ and Working at Heights’. 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.

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

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