Post #346 – Moose Band Fined $100,000 Total after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Moose Band Development Corporation was fined $65,000 yesterday for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a worker to be killed. Daak Enterprises Ltd. was fined $35,000 in relation to the same incident.

On March 13, 2007, a new power line was being built for a diamond mine north of Attawapiskat. Moose Band Development had been hired to cut trees to accommodate the new power line. Moose Band Development contracted Daak Enterprises to provide a feller buncher, a vehicle that cuts and gathers trees. The vehicle was composed of a cab on crawler tracks with a sawing apparatus, or feller head, attached to a movable arm. Daak Enterprises also provided an operator for the vehicle.

About 30 kilometers outside Moosonee, the feller buncher operator had problems with the vehicle’s saw. A repair crew from Moose Band Development went to help. While attempting to fix the vehicle, a member of the repair crew was pinned between the vehicle’s feller head and its tracks. The worker was killed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the vehicle’s arm and feller head were never secured in place to prevent movement during the repair.

Moose Band Development Corporation and Daak Enterprises Ltd. both pleaded guilty, as employers, to failing to ensure that a blocking system was installed on the feller buncher when it was being repaired.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Alex Spence. 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Moose Band Development Corporation and Daak Enterprises Ltd. were found guilty of violating section 108 of the Ontario ‘Construction’ regulation 213/91 which states,

“Blocking shall be installed to prevent the collapse or movement of part or all of a piece of equipment that is being dismantled, altered or repaired if its collapse or movement may endanger a worker.”

Here we have another example where proper work and repair procedures needed a set of standard instructions. Incorporated into the work instructions should have been a set of safe work practices which would have included the blocking of moving parts during any repair or teardown of the equipment. Included in the written work procedures should have been,

1) Proper repair procedures as defined by the manufacturer and any pertinent legislation, and
2) Training for all employees before and during the process including ‘competency’ training

Safety is not just a word in Ontario but the MOL has attempted to drive the workplaces in Ontario to have this sort of work ethic. ‘Safety’ in the workplace is a fundamental concern and is always a right for the workers. When all employers learn this one important lesson the workplace will indeed be safe and Ontario will be a leader in health and safety in Canada and to other areas as well. The MOL has done much over the past few years to encourage employers to do exactly this!

I was also glad to see that both companies were convicted on the same concern. The responsibility does not just lie with one contractor/employer but with all contractor/employers. I wondered if Moose Band Development Corporation felt they were not liable because the competency expectations SHOULD come from the contractor. It is a good lesson for all employers; one MUST practice ‘Due Diligence’ and ensure that all or your employees, including contractors, are trained to competency standards as are expected in Ontario.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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