Post #350 – Automotive Manufacturer Fined $120,000 after Worker Seriously Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Rieter Automotive Mastico Ltd. was fined $120,000 on May 11, 2011, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was seriously injured.

On April 20, 2010, a worker at the Rieter Automotive Mastico Ltd. automotive manufacturing plant at 1451 Bell Mill Road in Tillsonburg attempted to clear a clog in a picker, a machine with a large spiked roller used to mulch materials. The worker locked out the energy source of the machine before opening an access window to reach the clog. However, the roller was still in motion, requiring several minutes to slow down even after the power was turned off. The worker’s hand was caught by the roller and drawn into the machine, causing serious injuries.

Rieter Automotive Mastico Ltd. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to failing to ensure that the rotating roller on the picker was cleaned or adjusted only when motion that may endanger a worker had been stopped.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Frank McMahon. 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Rieter Automotive Mastico Ltd. was found guilty of violating section 75 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

a) Motion that may endanger a worker has stopped, and
b) Any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

The lockout and tagout procedures discuss the work being done, the time allotted for the same repair/maintenance time, who is to do the work and when, and most importantly of all, the discussion of the associated hazards. In this case, it MUST have been known to the employer that the machine does not shut off right away, even though it was locked out prior to entry. This particular hazard should have been made known to the operator. The supervisor must ensure that the workers completing these tasks are given the information and instruction to complete the work safely. In other words, the supervisor could have been fined as well as other fines for the employer.

I feel that the company needed to have been slapped with larger fines here and I hope the MOL has ensured that Rieter Automotive Mastico Ltd. has created a safer Lockout and Tagout procedure that better defines the hazards and ensures the workers’ safety.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Machine Guarding’ and ‘Lockout and Tagout’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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