Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Lauri Romanko, a supervisor at the Lake of Bays Township’s public works garage, was fined $15,000 on December 14, 2010, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that caused a worker’s death.
On March 19, 2008, Mr. Romanko and a worker were backing a snow plough toward the garage. Mr. Romanko was driving the plough while the worker was signaling from inside the garage. While in the intended path of the plough, the worker disappeared from Mr. Romanko’s view. Mr. Romanko then fatally struck the worker.
Lauri Romanko was found guilty of failing, as a supervisor, to ensure that the worker stayed clear of the intended path of travel of the plough and in full view of its driver.
In addition to the fine, the court made a probation order, which requires Mr. Romanko to perform 120 hours of community service and to be retrained before operating similar equipment again.
The penalty was imposed by Justice of the Peace Anne-Marie Puusaari. 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.
The law(s) in contravention:
Lauri Romanko was found guilty of contravention of section 56 (a) and (c) of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation which states,
“Where the operator of a vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment does not have a full view of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment or its load, the vehicle, mobile equipment , crane shall be operated as directed by a signaler who is a competent person and who is stationed,
a) In full view of the operator,
c) Clear of the intended path of travel of the vehicle, mobile equipment, crane or similar material handling equipment and its load.”
It sure doesn’t make sense, in this day and age, where a supervisor would take chances with the lives of those working for them. The supervisor should have been trained in proper material handling techniques so that the workers’ safety is always at the forefront.
The Township was very lucky it was not also charged as there is a section of the ACT, in section 25, subsection 2 (c) which forces the employer to,
“When hiring a supervisor, hire a competent person.” Clearly, they failed in that regard.
It is too late for the worker. It should never have happened in the first place. A properly situated spotter would have eliminated the hazard and a possible third person could have added even more safety to the operation.
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 ‘Construction Safety Awareness’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.