Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Moonfleet Poultry Inc., a Guelph company that collects live chickens from farms and transports them to a poultry processor, was fined $50,000 today for a violation under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), after a worker was injured.

On November 14, 2007, a Moonfleet crew of chicken-catchers was loading chickens at a farm in South-West Oxford. One member of the crew was working from the top of a transport trailer, stacking crates, when the worker fell over 4 meters to the ground below, sustaining a complex fracture to the hip and pelvis.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the worker had not been provided with training or supervision on the use of fall prevention when working at heights.

Moonfleet Poultry Inc. pleaded guilty under the OHSA to failing, as an employer, to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of that worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert Gay. 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 crime.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Moonfleet Poultry Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25 of the ACT, 2(a) which states,

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of that worker.”

It sounds pretty straight forward, now doesn’t it? The employer must recognize the fall hazard, which in Ontario, “When an worker has a chance of falling 3 metres, the worker must be protected from the fall hazard, by some sort of Fall Protection, whether it is a fall ‘Prevention’ method such as horizontal or vertical lifelines, guardrails or just avoidance of the hazard. The only other choice would be to include ‘Fall Arrest’ which could include safety nets, full body harnesses, shock absorbing lanyards and fall limiters.”

It does get silly when you hear of a situation such as this one. Very little in the way of safety devices and the employee(s) would have been protected. Do you think $50,000 would cover all the training and protective devices needed to protect their workers? I bet it would.

Again, we find an employer that realizes the need for employee health and safety much too late. When is it going to stop, or at least slow down?

Our company, HRS Group Inc., teaches Fall Protection, which covers Fall Arrest and Fall Prevention. The main ingredient in any competency training is the recognition of the hazards associated with any of the provided training. Moonfleet employees, with the appropriate training, would have known the hazard and would have avoided it. Section 43 of the ACT covers the entire process for work refusal. (Another course we teach as certified providers through WSIB)

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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