Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
ODC Manufacturing Limited, a Barrie producer of die-cast parts, pleaded guilty and was fined $55,000 on January 5, 2010, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.
On June 29, 2007, a worker was operating die-casting machines. One of the machines stopped. The worker put it in manual mode to examine it. The worker opened a guard door and reached into the machine to reposition one of its components. The machine closed on the worker’s hand. The worker suffered severe hand injuries.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that when this type of machine is functioning properly, it stops moving when a worker opens the guard door. At the time of the incident, the company knew that the machine was malfunctioning. Two and a half months before the incident, a supervisor warned the worker that the machine could keep moving with the guard door open. However, on June 29, the worker believed the machine was operating properly because no one had told the worker about the continuing hazard.
ODC Manufacturing Limited pleaded guilty to failing to inform the worker about the continuing hazard of malfunction of the machine.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Moreland Lynn. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
ODC Manufacturing Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of section 25 of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), subsection 2(d) which states,
“An employer shall acquaint a worker or person in authority over a worker with any hazard in the work and in the handling, storage, use, disposal and transport of any article, device, equipment or a biological, chemical or physical agent.”
Here we find a company not understanding ‘Machine Guarding’ AND the OHSA section 25, subsection 1(b), which states,
“An employer shall ensure that the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”
ODC should have placed a stop order on the machine until the stopping mechanism of the gates was re-verified. No one should have been able to use the machine until proper corrective action was taken to deal with the defective equipment. Section 24 of the Ontario regulation 851 which states,
“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker the equipment or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”
Here the moving part had a guard but was totally defective. Hence the failure of section 24.
There are numerous other sections of the ACT that could have been used if the MOL had to deal with a more severe issue. I believe ODC got off lucky. The employee safety is the #1 priority for any employer. Where was the manager here? Even the supervisor notified the operator that the hazard may still exist. If this was true then the supervisor was in violation of section 27, 1(a) which states,
“The supervisor shall ensure that a worker, works in a manner and with the protective devices required by this ACT and the regulations,”
and section 27, 2(c) which states,
“The supervisor shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstance for the protection of the worker.”
The responsibility lies not only with the employer but with the supervisor. Here we find the supervisor not understanding the ACT as it applied to him. A hefty fine of upwards to $25,000 would have bettered the education process. The onus is on the people to read the OHSA.
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 ‘Machine Guarding’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.