Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Neff Kitchen Manufacturers Limited, of Brampton, was fined $75,000 on July 7, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was killed. Two supervisors at Opportunity Labour Agency Services, a Vaughan temporary help agency, were fined $10,000 each in relation to the incident.
On August 31, 2006, two Opportunity Labour workers stationed at Neff Kitchen were to unload a shipping container that Neff Kitchen had sent to another company. That company’s own workers had not been allowed to unload the container because their supervisor deemed the load unsafe. One Opportunity Labour worker went inside the container alone and was cutting the banding around a stack of plywood when the bundle came apart and fell on the worker, pushing him into the side of the container and fatally crushing him.
Neff Kitchen Manufacturers Limited pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing to ensure that the plywood could be removed without endangering the worker’s safety. Two Opportunity Labour supervisors pleaded guilty to not advising the worker of potential or actual danger when unloading the container.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Karen Walker. 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:
Neff Kitchens Manufacturers Limited was convicted under the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 45, subsection (b)(ii) which states,
“Materials, articles or things shall be transported, placed or stored so that the material, articles or things can be removed or withdrawn without endangering the safety of any worker.”
Gajendran Indrakumaran and Thushanthan Ketheeswran, supervisors for Opportunity Labour Agency Services, were each convicted and fined $10,000 for violating section 27 of the ACT subsection 2(a) which states,
“A supervisor shall advise a worker of the existence of any potential or actual danger to the health or safety of the worker of which the supervisor is aware of.”
As my wife said after reading this particular blog, “Unbelievable.” Angela is a CHSC, (Certified Health and Safety Consultant) and was taken aback when reading this one. Angela once worked for Minacs in the HR department when it was only a temporary agency out of Oshawa. Elaine Minacs would have never allowed her people to work in an unsafe workplace.
How could any person, in their right mind, send someone into danger after being alerted by, in this case, the supervisor or manager of Neff Kitchens. Neff Kitchen’s own workers were refused entry. Why didn’t the two supervisors for Opportunity Labour Agency Services heed the warnings and prevent this tragedy from happening.
Why didn’t Neff Kitchen Manufacturers Ltd. understand that the temporary workers were also their responsibility?
I bet they know now!
It is important for all employers to understand that health and safety of all workers, visitors, contractors and subcontractors, while in the workplace or on the worksite are their responsibility. Neff Kitchen’s Manufacturers Ltd. learned the hard way with a $75,000 fine and a tarnished reputation.
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 ‘The Supervisor and Health and Safety Law’. 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.