Blog Post #169 – Saltillo Imports Inc. Fined $50,000 After Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

Saltillo Imports Inc., a Toronto dealer of granite, marble and ceramic tile flooring, was fined $50,000 on November 18, 2009, for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On January 5, 2009, workers were unloading a shipping container containing granite slabs. The 250-kilogram slabs stood vertically on their edges, held together in groups of 10 by wooden frames. The workers opened one of the frames and removed a slab with a forklift. The remaining nine slabs, which were not supported or braced in any way, tipped over and pinned one of the workers to the floor of the shipping container.

Saltillo Imports Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the slabs were moved, lifted or carried in such a way, and with such precautions and safeguards in place, that they would not endanger any worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Cesar De Morais. 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:

Saltillo Imports Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of  section 45, sub-section (a) of the ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 851/90 which states,

“Material, articles or things required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”

Wow, here we have another employer not reviewing the proper legislation and one of their workers was hurt. The information can be found in the section ‘Material Handling’ and is prominent for this type of protection. More care was needed for the workers prior to the actually ACT of moving the material. Just like any important and possibly dangerous situation in the workplace, the employer should have had the supervisor discuss the removal of the granite slab, and explain the potential hazards associated with the removal of the one unit. If the supervisor was unaware of the hazard then he was not competent and unable to oversee his/her duties as described in section 27 of the ACT and that also means the employer was also at fault for putting a non-competent person in a supervisory position. (Section 25, sub-section 2(c)) The fines could have been more severe since there could be so many examples of violations that would have been used if the injury was more severe.

I understand that the green book seems to be quite extensive but all it takes is to attend a class of Basic Certification, Level 1, for one to better understand the legislation. Basic Certification, Level 1, a WSIB course for health and safety persons on a JHSC, of which HRS Group is a registered provider, will better explain the green book and certainly explains the role employers, supervisors and employees (among others) play in the day-to-day working at the work-site. We all have responsibilities and it is up to the employer to ensure that all members of the workforce understand their duties and adhere to the legislation. Once trained, then enforcement is required to ensure compliance.

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 ‘Material Handling’ and ‘Proper Lifting Techniques’. 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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