Blog Post #195 – NATSCO Mechanical Contractors Inc. Fined $70,000 after Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

NATSCO Mechanical Contractors Inc., a Sarnia-based company, was fined $70,000 on May 10, 2010 for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was struck by a 3,500 kilogram pipe and seriously injured.

On November 19, 2007, workers were using a front-end loader to unload large pipes from a truck when one of the pipes fell off the truck. The pipe struck and pinned the truck driver who was standing beside the truck. The pipe was 16 metres in length and 0.91 metres in diameter. The driver received serious leg injuries. The workers were lifting another pipe off of the truck when the incident occurred in the driveway of a NATSCO job site at 426 Polymoore Dr. in St. Clair Township.

After trial, NATSCO Mechanical Contractors Inc. was found guilty of failing as a constructor to ensure that the pipes were moved in a manner that did not endanger the truck driver.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Holly R. Debacker. 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:

Natsco Mechanical Contractors Inc. was found guilty for the contravention of section 37 (1) of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Material or equipment at a project shall be stored and moved in a manner that does not endanger a worker.”

Again, we see a company not understanding its responsibilities under the ACT and sector-specific regulations. The moving of large diameter pipe needed to be a thought-out process and all possible hazards identified that, possibly, may occur or WILL occur.

Here we find a company, seemingly, as part of a regular procedure, moving large diameter pipes and not ensuring the procedure was going to be safe. Now, the company can say they did not know about such things, like this little obscure section of the construction regulation, but that is no reason not to investigate the appropriate regulation and find out. The onus is on the employer to do so. (See section 25 of the ACT)

Any company in Ontario MUST pick up a copy of the appropriate regulations and research the book to find the appropriate sections that apply to them. The 4 main sector regulations are;

1) Industrial regulation 851
2) Construction regulation 213/91
3) Healthcare and Residential regulation 67/93, and
4) Mines and Mining Plants regulation 854

There are many more regulations such as one for Confined Spaces (632/05) and another for WHMIS (860) but the 4 listed above cover most areas of employment. Please ensure that you have a copy of the appropriate sector regulations before you enter a worksite. You will certainly be glad you did. Remember, “You have the right to refuse unsafe work.” (Section 50 of the ACT protects you from any reprisals) If you do receive any flack, bullying, harassment or coercion because of a work refusal, then please call the MOL 24 hour hotline at 1-877-202-0008 and report it. The personal fines can be as much as $25,000 and the company can receive a fine of up to $500,000. You just may change the company’s mind.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Material Handling’ and ‘Proper Lifting Techniques’. 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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