Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Peninsula Alloy Inc., a Stevensville foundry that manufactures metal castings, was fined $70,000 on June 19, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), after a worker was seriously injured.
On March 26, 2008, a furnace operator was putting scrap metal into a furnace to melt when the furnace exploded and splashed the worker with molten metal. The worker suffered second and third degree burns on the head, back and arm.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was wearing a face shield, gloves, and work boots, but not a Kevlar fire resistant suit and spats.
Peninsula Alloy Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to ensure the worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect against injury or was guarded by a shield, screen or similar barrier appropriate in the circumstances.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Donna Cowan. 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:
Peninsula Alloy Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90, section 84 which states,
“A worker exposed to the hazard of injury from contact of the worker’s skin with a hot object, hot liquid or molten metal or radiant heat shall be protected by wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury.”
Here we find the employer allowing the worker to wear the bare minimum of protective equipment even with the threat of extreme heat and molten metal. The damage to the skin would be severe even in the short term and the employee as well as the employer, due to complacency, felt it unnecessary to outfit the worker more adequately. I find this to be the rule of thumb in most cases.
Complacency causes one to ignore the potential of injury and the possible severe injury because it has never occurred before. The company may have had an excellent safety record just prior to this but did not see the danger to the worker.
Where was the JHSC? Why did no one suggest this as a possible potential injury and suggest corrective action? Maybe they did and were ignored. Who knows?
The company should consider themselves lucky. Section 25 of the ACT, sub-section 2(h) was also violated.
“The employer shall ensure take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”
The immediate supervisor could have been charged with section 27 of the ACT, sub-section 2(c) which reads;
“The supervisor shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.”
The supervisor could also been charged with section 27, sub-section 1(a)
“The supervisor shall ensure that a worker works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this ACT and the regulations and uses or wears the equipment, protective devices or clothing that the worker’s employer requires to be used or worn.”
It seems he/she did not know the requirements appropriate to the job. Not a feasible defense in Ontario!
The employer and supervisor were totally unaware of the requirements to work in the furnace area. If they did, and provided the appropriate equipment for the employee, the accident would not have happened and the employee would have been saved the long rehab that is to happen, the costs absorbed by us, the Ontario public.
Due Diligence is the key to corrective action!
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.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.