Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Katoen Natie Canada, a Quebec-based logistics services provider, was fined $70,000 on June 25, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.
On June 21, 2007, at the company’s warehouse in Corunna, a forklift operator was using an electric reach truck to lift and pull cartons from storage racks. The worker backed into a steel rack, trapping a leg between the truck and the racking and breaking the leg.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker was a certified lift truck operator, but was not certified for the machinery involved in the incident. The worker’s supervisor was also not monitoring the worker at the time of the incident.
Katoen Natie Canada pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to ensure the worker was competent to operate the lifting device or was accompanied by a competent person while operating the lifting device.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Marsha Miskokomon. In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge on the total, as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crimes.
Law(s) violated — 851 — section 51, 2(a)
“A Lifting device shall be operated on by a competent person or a worker being instructed who is accompanied by a competent person.”
There are 7 classes of forklift.
Class 1 — Electric Motor Rider Truck
Class 2 — Electric Narrow Aisle Forklift
Class 3 — Electric Motor Hand Trucks
Class 4 — Internal Combustion Engine — Cushion Tire
Class 5 — Internal Combustion Engine — Pneumatic Tire
Class 6 — Personnel carrier and tractor
Class 7 — Rough Terrain
It is my experience that the class 2 forklift is one of the 2 hardest forklifts to learn to operate. First of all, the narrow aisle has what is called, ‘reverse steering’. When the operator cranks the steering clockwise he/she is actually going to the left and vice versa. A very tricky setup indeed and much different to the other classes. All others, except the boom-supported forklift from the class 7 group are basically the same.
Recently, I have trained Class 2, Narrow Aisle forklift to two different companies, over the past few months. Each time the practical application took more than a few hours. Any experienced forklift driver of a class 2 forklift will tell you the extra time it takes to learn how to manoeuvre the ‘Narrow Aisle’ properly. Any experienced class 1,4,5, operator will tell you that they needed extra time to learn the subtle handling changes of the Class 2.
I believe that the training company, whether internal or external, gave a blanket forklift license and, instead of completing a workplace specific practical evaluation, was the real culprit and I hope the H&S co-ordinator as well as the JHSC will review the training standards of their people and make sure they adhere to the CSA standard ‘B335’ as well as the ‘Ontario Guideline for the Safe Operation and Maintenance of Powered Lift Trucks’. The intent is to acclimatize the operator to the specific class of forklift he/she will be operating and this workplace specific should be handled in a wide open space until the operator and the instructor feel comfortable to have the operator work in a congested space. It has been my experience that at least 2 to 4 hours of a practical evaluation, under the supervision of a competent person, is necessary to handle a class 2 narrow aisle reach truck.
P.S. The company, as well as the supervisor, was fortunate not to be convicted under the ACT, section 25 and 27 respectively. Both were violated and if the operator was killed I believe the extra convictions would have been included. The MOL is pretty consistent when it comes to this.
Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer