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Car Part Manufacturer Fined $150,000 After Worker Injured

Sep 1st, 2012Comments Off

Guelph, ON – Linamar Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Transgear Manufacturing, a Guelph car part manufacturer, was fined $150,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On May 20, 2009, a worker at the company’s facility in Guelph was trying to determine the cause of a leak in a machine. The worker opened the cage surrounding the machine and went into the enclosed area. The worker had not been told that the area contained exposed parts that were electrically charged. The worker’s head came into contact with a charged part of the machine, causing electrical shock and burns.

Linamar Holdings Inc., carrying on business as Transgear Manufacturing, was found guilty of failing to provide information about the presence of electrically charged exposed parts in the enclosed area of the machine. The court also found that the company failed to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker on the safe procedure for dealing with a leak.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace James Ziegler. 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.

Construction Companies and Director Fined $300,000 Total After Worker Injured

Aug 20th, 2012Comments Off

North Bay, ON – Chelmsford-based construction companies Bélanger Construction (1981) Inc. and R.M. Bélanger Limited were fined $290,000 total on August 10, 2012, for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. The companies’ director, Ronald Bélanger, was fined $10,000 in relation to the same incident.

On September 17, 2008, a worker fell from a cement pier while dismantling a guardrail system in Field, Ont. The worker suffered head and leg injuries, and was sent to hospital.

The court found that the worker was not protected by fall protection of any kind. Three other workers at the construction project were similarly unprotected. There was a lack of equipment for each worker on the job, as well as a lack of proper care and inspection of existing safety equipment. The court also found that the supervisor on site was unqualified.

Bélanger Construction (1981) Inc. was fined $75,000 for failing as a constructor to ensure that the worker was adequately protected from falling off a bridge abutment by means of fall protection.

R.M. Bélanger Limited, the worker’s employer, was fined $215,000 for:
■failing to ensure the worker was adequately protected from falling off a bridge abutment by means of fall protection
■failing to ensure the proper equipment materials and protective devices were provided at the workplace, and
■failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to the worker to protect the health and safety of the worker.

Ronald Bélanger was fined $10,000 for failing as a director to ensure that both companies complied with the provisions of the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Moreau. 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.

Ottawa Catholic District School Board Fined $275,000 After Classroom Explosion

Aug 20th, 2012Comments Off

Ottawa, ON – The Ottawa Catholic District School Board was fined $275,000 today for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after an explosion in a school classroom that killed a student.

On May 26, 2011, students in a Mother Teresa High School classroom were making barbeques out of steel barrels. As a student was cutting a barrel with a hand grinder, the barrel exploded. The student was killed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the barrel the student was using had been washed out with a flammable cleaner. The barrel had been stored with its caps closed prior to the class project, allowing flammable cleaning vapours to accumulate inside the barrel. When the student was cutting the barrel, a spark from the grinder ignited the vapours, causing the explosion.

The investigation also found that the school board did not have adequate review and assessment procedures in place to ensure hot work on drums or containers could be carried out safely.

The Ottawa Catholic District School Board pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to provide information, instruction and supervision to the teacher concerning safe work practices and recognition of the hazards associated with the class project.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Claudette Coulas. 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

Amhil Enterprises Ltd. Fined $55,000 After Worker Injured

Jul 21st, 2012Comments Off

Brampton, ON – Amhil Enterprises Ltd., a Burlington manufacturer of plastic products, was fined $55,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On June 29, 2010, at the company’s Mississauga facility, a supervisor and two workers were clearing a jam in a machine. The machine was not locked out to prevent it from reenergizing. When the supervisor left to get assistance, one of the workers put a hand into an opening in the machine and part of the worker’s hand was severed.

The company had a general lock out policy, but it did not have a written policy for the lock out and tag of out this particular machine.

Amhil Enterprises Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of having a written policy for the lock out and tag out of the machine.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Barnes. 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.

Construction Company And Supervisor Fined $100,000 After Worker Injured

Jul 21st, 2012Comments Off

Brampton, ON – King Roofing & Aluminum Contractors Inc., a King City constructor, was fined $90,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured. A supervisor was fined $10,000 in relation to the same incident.

On August 11, 2008, workers from the company were replacing the roof of a home in Brampton. While moving a bucket of tar, one of the workers accidentally stepped off the roof. The worker fell to the ground below and the bucket of tar overturned, spilling tar on the fallen worker. The worker broke multiple bones and suffered third degree burns.

A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that there was no form of fall protection at the project and the injured worker and another worker had not been trained in fall protection. The injured worker had also not been wearing appropriate clothing for work with hot tar.

King Roofing & Aluminum Contractors Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that:
■the workers were trained in fall protection
■the workers were adequately protected by a guardrail system
■the workers were wearing appropriate protection against injury for the hot tar

Joe Scarna, owner of the company and supervisor at the time of the incident, pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure that the workers were adequately protected by a guardrail system.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Jeannie Anand. In addition to the fines, 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.

Company Director Fined $90,000 Under OHSA After Workers Killed

Jul 21st, 2012Comments Off

Toronto, ON – Joel Swartz, the director of Metron Construction Corporation, a Toronto constructor, was fined $90,000 after pleading guilty to violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after four workers were killed and another worker was seriously injured.
On December 24, 2009, six workers were on a suspended work platform, also known as a swing stage, at a construction project on Kipling Ave. in Toronto. The swing stage collapsed and fell 13 floors, killing four of the workers and seriously injuring another worker. The only worker properly attached to fall protection was held by the lifeline and pulled to safety.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the deceased workers had not been properly tied off to a lifeline, and had not been properly trained in the use of fall protection. The swing stage had been overloaded and it was later determined to be defective and hazardous.

Joel Swartz pleaded guilty under the Occupational Health and Safety Act to failing, as a director, to take all reasonable care to ensure that:
■workers did not use a defective or hazardous swing stage
■the swing stage was not loaded in excess of the weight it was meant to bear
■workers were adequately trained in the use of fall protection by a competent person
■Metron Construction Corporation prepared and maintained written training and instruction records for each worker

Metron Construction Corporation was convicted of criminal negligence causing death and was fined $200,000 in relation to the same incident. Metron’s conviction was pursuant to amendments to the Criminal Code of Canada relating to workplace safety which have been in force since 2004. The criminal charges were laid by the police.

The fines were imposed by Judge Bigelow of the Ontario Court of Justice. In addition to the OHSA fines, 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.

Other defendants facing charges stemming from this incident are still before the court.

Jul 21st, 2012Comments Off

Waterloo, ON – Waterloo North Hydro Inc., an electricity distributor for Waterloo and the surrounding area, was fined $110,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On October 12, 2010, a mall was under construction in Waterloo. Workers from Waterloo North Hydro Inc. had installed transformers on site and were attempting to send power from a transformer in one location to a transformer in another location. As power was sent to the second transformer, a worker for an electrical contractor was in the area routing a metal tape through a duct. The tape came into contact with a newly energized electrical conductor and caused an arc flash. The worker was badly burned.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that an adequate job plan for energizing the transformers had not been documented. A job plan would have identified all known hazards and implemented controls for each hazard to protect workers from injury.

Waterloo North Hydro Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to establish and implement an adequate job plan prior to installing and energizing the transformers.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Ruth Legate Exon. 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.

Food Directions Inc. Fined $60,000 After Worker Injured

Jul 20th, 2012Comments Off

Toronto, ON – Food Directions Inc., a Scarborough pasta manufacturer, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On March 30, 2009, a worker was cleaning a pasta mixer at the company’s Scarborough facility. The worker’s arm was caught in the mixer’s moving blades, causing serious injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the mixer’s electrical interlock switch, a device to stop the blades from moving when the mixer was open, was not maintained in good condition.

Food Directions Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the electrical interlock switch was maintained in good condition.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John Cottrell. 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.

Metron Construction Fined $ 200,000 for Criminal Negligence

Jul 15th, 2012Comments Off

Today, Metron Construction Corporation, the first corporation convicted in Ontario under the Criminal Code as amended by Bill C-45 in 2004, was fined $200,000 following it’s June 15, 2012, guilty plea to a charge of criminal negligence causing death. It’s president was also fined $90,000 after pleading guilty to four charges under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The charges arose from a Christmas Eve 2009 accident in which five workers fell thirteen storeys after the collapse of a swing stage. Four workers were killed and the fifth was seriously injured. The penalty imposed on Metron represents the highest fine imposed for criminal negligence arising from a workplace accident in Canadian history. The only previous corporate criminal negligence conviction in such a matter, occurred in Quebec in 2008. It involved Transpavé Inc. which was fined $100,000 after a worker was crushed in a piece of machinery. Similarly, the $90,000 fine imposed on Metron’s president is the highest monetary penalty ever imposed under OHS legislation in Canada.

With respect to the criminal negligence charge, the Crown had sought a fine of $1,000,000 while Metron had argued that a fine of $100,000 was appropriate. In his reasons for judgment, Justice Robert Bigelow considered the Criminal Code sentencing factors applicable to corporations and found that Metron had not realized any advantage as a result of the offence, that the offence was not planned, the company president had been fined as a result of the incident, and that neither Metron nor any of its representatives had been convicted or sanctioned by any regulatory body for similar conduct in the past. Justice Bigelow also found that imposing the fine sought by the Crown would likely result in Metron’s bankruptcy. Ultimately, Justice Bigelow held that the $342,500 in fines and surcharges payable by Metron and its president, which amounted to three times Metron’s net earnings in its last profitable year (the year before the accident), would send a clear message to all businesses of the overwhelming importance of ensuring worker safety.

In imposing sentence on Metron’s president, the court accepted the joint submission that was presented to him by the Crown and defence. His Honour commented that the case involved serious breaches of health and safety legislation that resulted in horribly tragic consequences. However, the defendant had over 20 years of experience in the construction industry without any violations of health and safety legislation. After considering those circumstances, Justice Bigelow found that the jointly recommended penalty would not be contrary to the administration of justice.

The fines and surcharges imposed on Metron and its president are to be fully paid within one year.

Construction Supervisor Fined $30,000 After Worker Killed

Jul 13th, 2012Comments Off

Milton, ON – An Uxbridge construction company supervisor was fined $30,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On December 15, 2009, bridge construction was underway on the Queen Elizabeth Way over Bronte Creek in Oakville. The construction company 474294 Ontario Limited, carrying on business as Northern Machinery Services, was removing the concrete deck of the existing bridge. The president of the company, Barry Wood, was supervising. While workers were removing concrete panels from the bridge a section of the deck began to collapse. A worker fell and a collapsing concrete panel fell on top of the worker. The worker was killed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Mr. Wood had been provided with a copy of an engineered procedure for safely cutting and removing concrete from the bridge deck in order to maintain its structural integrity and prevent collapse. However, this procedure had been violated. Furthermore, the workers exposed to a fall hazard while dismantling the bridge had not been wearing fall protection.

Barry Wood pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that workers engaged in the cutting and removal of the bridge deck followed the engineered procedure for that task. He was fined $20,000 for this violation.

Mr. Wood also pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to ensure that workers exposed to a fall hazard were wearing fall protection. He was fined $10,000 for this violation.

The fines were imposed by Justice Stephen Brown. In addition to the fines, 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.

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