Blog Post #227 – MMFX Steel of Canada Inc. Fined $120,000 Total after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

MMFX Steel of Canada Inc. was fined $120,000 today for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a worker’s death.

On January 20, 2009, at the company’s steel mill and foundry in Welland, a worker was walking across the workplace’s yard. While crossing the path of a moving front-end loader, the worker fell under the vehicle’s wheel. The loader operator did not see the fallen worker. The worker was run over and killed.

MMFX Steel of Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to install signs, barriers or other safeguards in an area where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of a worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Bruce Phillips. 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:

MMFX Steel of Canada was found guilty of a contravention of section 20 on the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“Barriers, warning signs or other safeguards for the protection of all workers in an area shall be used where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of any worker.”

Sometime the simplest answer is the correct one. (Occam’s Razor) Where was the employer and his/her concern for the worker? Non-existent!

MMFX Steel of Canada should have taken into account all possible aspects of the workplace and identify all hazards including the danger of pedestrian traffic. Heavy equipment operators have enough to think about and are always aware of the possibility of coming into contact with pedestrians. It is up to the employer to ensure the workforce have a clearly defined area of influence and place barriers and signs to denote ‘pedestrian’ and ‘vehicle’ traffic.

It is always amusing to me how a company does not even review the appropriate sections of the regulations to at least attempt to understand their responsibilities. There is usually a section covering almost anything and it is up to the employer to find the section, read it and implement corrective action.

The loss of life on the job-site is one I never fully understand since the laws are there for all to see. We understand not to speed, talk on the cell phone, make illegal lane changes, carelessly drive when getting behind the wheel of a car so why do companies continually ignore the content in the OHSA and regulations! They are just as important as other laws and must be adhered to.

Ignorance of the law is no defense so please read the material and protect your 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. 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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