Post #345 – Garbage Container Improperly Installed in Quebec

Excerpt from the OH&S Canada magazine

A garbage container’s improper installation and a rusted cable contributed to the crushing death of a worker in 2007, concludes Quebec’s Commission de la sante et de la securite du travail (CSST).

On June 6, 2007, a garbage collector with Les Enterprises J. L. R. was picking up recyclable material from a client’s yard when the accident occurred, says CSST spokesperson Eric Arseneault. A sudden slackening in the steel winch cable connected to the container resulted in a hook releasing from the eyelet, causing the container to fall, Arseneault reports. Positioned under the raised container at the time, Martin Labranche was fatally injured.

The CSST investigation found that the container was not installed properly on the back of the truck. As well, says Arseneault, the cable was rusted and not properly maintained.

In light of its findings, the CSST determined Les enterprises J. L. R. acted in a manner that compromised worker safety and recommended a penalty of $5,000 to $20,000.

Several orders were issued against the company following the accident, including directives to install a cable equipped with a proper hook and safety latch, to modify cable installation, to provide written instructions on picking up recyclable materials, and to ensure workers are trained on a proper vehicle maintenance program.

My opinion

I wonder why safety procedures were not part of the design stage of this particular operation. The issue was not based on criminally-driven negligence but the lack of a safety culture as well as a set of work instructions which should of included,

1) Training for all employees, written work instructions and operator knowledge training on the proper container installation
2) Regularly scheduled maintenance, and
3) Daily review of the equipment
4) Review of the engineering standards of the equipment, especially when there was corrosion through rust

I feel that a safety culture begins at the design stage. Many have found that this type of approach has a distinct advantage. The company deals with proper safety features in the business at the earliest opportunity and continues to promote health and safety on a daily basis.

It is also a great idea for companies to suggest employee participation in a home ‘wellness’ program which drives health and safety in the home environment. What we do, or not do, have a large impact on the health of the individual employee. I hope that all employers review this type of program and begin them as soon as possible. There are many benefits to be had including a reduction in absenteeism as well as happier employees.

Remember — In Canada, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP — Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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