Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Pack All Manufacturing Inc., a producer of polystyrene products, was fined $55,000 on November 19, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured. Directors Micheal Abdulnour and Emile Abdulnour were also fined $5,000 each.
On July 21, 2007, at the company’s plant in Clarence-Rockland, a young worker was trying to clear a jam of waste stuck in a hopper. At the bottom of the hopper, two rollers fed the waste into a grinder below. The worker reached into the hopper to push the jammed waste through the rollers and into the grinder. The worker’s hand was pulled in by the rollers, which caused severe injury to the worker’s fingers.
Pack All Manufacturing Inc. was found guilty after trial of failing, as an employer, to ensure that the hopper was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point. Directors Micheal Abdulnour and Emile Abdulnour were both found guilty of failing, as directors, to take all reasonable care in the circumstances.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Brian Mackey. In addition to the fines, 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:
Pack All Manufacturing Inc. was convicted for a contravention of section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,
“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard that prevents access to the pinch point.”
Here we have another company unfamiliar with the OHSA and using safe work practices when designing work descriptions for their workers. Incorporating health and safety at the design stage is crucial for more than health and safety. Cost is reduced due to less downtime, employee accidents, machine intermittent failure, along with many others.
The MOL works and designs their investigation as ‘Compliance’ investigation where a company may look towards a ‘Liability’ type of investigation.
Compliance Investigation — to research and locate all aspects of the faults and causes of an incident/accident and attempt to locate any contravention of the AC T or appropriate regulations.
Liability Investigation — A company may take steps to take measures to reduce their liability exposure in the event of a loss/accident/incident.
What a good H&S committee needs to model their investigation around is the ‘Preventative’ model.
Preventative Investigation — A H&S program greatly benefits from a ‘Preventative’ investigation. This should be ongoing, looking for the possible accident causes and recommend corrective action. This type of investigation examines the same evidence but uses the information to consider what organizational systems may have failed.
It is my opinion that the two directors were oblivious of their responsibilities under the law and were found wanton. They were very lucky not to have had added section 32 of the OHSA which states,
“Every director and every officer of a corporation shall take all reasonable care to ensure that the corporation complies with,
a) This ACT and the regulation.
They sure did not read the relevant section of the industrial regulations or they would have known their responsibilities and would have handled themselves accordingly.
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.