Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Xerium Canada Inc., a supplier and repairer of the rolls used in paper-making machines, was fined $60,000 on October 2, 2009, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) after a worker was injured.

On March 19, 2008, workers at Xerium’s North Bay facility were attempting to repair a machine used to mix bonding liquid. The power to the machine was turned off and the protective guards covering the machine’s driveshaft were removed. The workers turned on the machine again, but did not replace the guards right away; the sleeve of one of the workers was caught in its moving parts.

Xerium Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machine’s driveshaft and gears were guarded to prevent access to their pinch points.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Susan Hilton. 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:

Xerium Canada Inc. was convicted for one contravention of section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

Now, the guard was in place, therefore, the probable answer to the violation was lack of proper instruction to the worker in relation to the work being done.

“The employer shall provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.” (section 25, subsection 2(a))

The supervisor could have been charged with section 27 of the ACT, subsection 1(a) which states,

“The supervisor shall ensure that a worker works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and the procedures required by the ACT and the regulations.”

The employer needs to ensure that the supervisor be competent as well. The ACT and the appropriate sector specific regulations needs to be second nature to the supervisor or the employer violates section 25, subsection 2 (c) which states,

“The employer, when appointing a supervisor, appoint a competent person.” In other words, the employer has to make sure the supervisor(s) know the following,

1) Have the knowledge, training and experience to organize the work;
2) Have through knowledge of the ACT and its appropriate regulations; and
3) Have knowledge of the hazards associated with particular training.

As you can see, the employer had lots of training to put their people through, including themselves. Safety training needs to be at the beginning of any project and begins at the planning stage. The health and safety co-ordinator needs to apply all government regulations to the planning of any work and has to be supported by upper management. Only then will the company have a better record of health and safety in the workplace. Until then, companies like Xerium Canada Inc. will be featured in blog posts like this.

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’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

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

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