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Continuous Color Coat Limited Fined $60,000 After Worker Injured

Jul 5th, 2012Comments Off

Toronto, ON – Continuous Color Coat Limited, carrying on business as Metal Koting, a company that manufactures and supplies custom coil coated products, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On September 29, 2010, a worker was feeding a sheet metal coil into a paint machine at the company’s facility at 1430 Martin Grove Road in Toronto. The worker was having difficulty feeding the coil into the paint machine’s rollers because the steel was oily. A second worker offered to help and “jogged” the machine while the first worker placed a strip of paper on top of the sheet of steel at the pinch-point area of the rollers, which would help with feeding the steel into the paint machine’s rollers. The worker’s hand was drawn in to the rollers, causing injuries.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the paint machine’s rollers were not protected by a guard.

Continuous Color Coat Limited, carrying on business as Metal Koting, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the in-running nip hazard on the paint machine was equipped with a guard or other device that prevented access to its pinch point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace A. Johnston. 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.

OHSA and Criminal Code Convictions Arising From 2009 Toronto Swing Stage Accident

Jun 18th, 2012Comments Off

The tragic death of four workers falling on a construction site on Christmas Eve 2009 in Toronto, Ontario garnered nationwide media attention and quickly became known as one of the highest profile workplace accidents in Ontario, if not Canadian history. The accident spurred a historic, comprehensive review of Ontario’s occupational health and safety system and led to amendments to Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act. It also resulted in both regulatory and criminal charges being filed against the parties involved in the construction project.

On June 15, 2012, in a Toronto courtroom, Metron Construction entered a guilty plea to one charge of criminal negligence causing death under the Criminal Code as amended by Bill C-45.

At the same time, its President pleaded guilty to four contraventions of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA). Each charge alleged that the President failed, as a company director, to ensure that Metron complied with the OHSA and its regulations. The charges the President pleaded guilty to were:
•two counts under section 26.2 of the Construction Regulations including failing to take reasonable care to ensure a worker using a fall protection system was adequately trained; and that there were proper records of training (including names of workers and dates of training);
•one count under section 93 Construction Regulations of failing to take reasonable care to ensure a suspended scaffold was maintained in a condition that did not endanger a worker or was defective or hazardous; and,
•one count under section 134 of failing to ensure that a suspended platform complied with all aspects of the Consstruction Regulations.

The President has not as yet been sentenced. A joint submission (a proposal put forward jointly by Crown and Defence) has been placed before the court for a fine of $22,500 per charge, for a total of $90,000. The court does not have an obligation to accept the joint submission but it is rare for courts to depart from one.

Similarly, Metron has not yet been sentenced on its guilty plea to the criminal negligence charge. Under the Criminal Code there is no limit on the amount of a fine that may be imposed upon a corporation. The Crown has sought a penalty of $1 million dollars. The defence has not yet completed their submissions on sentencing. Sentencing proceedings have been put over to a later date.

The Accident

On December 24, 2009, six workers employed by Metron were working on a swing-stage scaffold while repairing balconies at a high-rise apartment building in Toronto. Five of the workers were not using fall arrest systems. The swing-stage collapsed. The fall tragically killed four workers and seriously injured another. A sixth worker’s fall was halted by the lifeline of his fall arrest system. Both the Ontario Ministry of Labour and the Toronto Police investigated the accident.

The Charges

Following its investigation, the Ministry of Labour laid a total of 61 charges against multiple parties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act (“OHSA”). Among the charges, thirty were laid against Metron, fifteen charges were laid against its President and another eight charges against a Company supervisor. Swing N’ Scaff Inc., the company that provided the swing-stage being used at the time of the accident, was also charged with four OHSA offences and its Director was charged with an additional three OHSA offences.

Following its own investigation, the Toronto Police also laid numerous criminal charges. Metron, its President, and a supervisor were each charged with four counts of criminal negligence causing death and one count of criminal negligence causing bodily harm. Criminal charges against the supervisor are still pending and a preliminary hearing commenced on May 7, 2012 in Toronto and is ongoing. In this hearing a judge will assess if there is sufficient evidence for the matter to proceed to a criminal trial.

Commentary

This case is historic as it represents the first corporate guilty plea in Ontario under the Criminal Code as amended by Bill C-45 in 2004. If imposed, a corporate sentence of one million dollars will represent the highest penalty for criminal negligence causing death for a workplace accident in Canadian history. The only other prior corporate criminal negligence conviction in such a matter, on a guilty plea in 2008, was Transpave, resulting in a fine of $100,000.00 in Quebec.

The proposed fine against Metron’s President will, if imposed, set a new high water mark for a sentence against any individual, let alone a director and officer under an OHS statute in Canada.

Printing Company Fined $60,000 After Worker Injured

Jun 12th, 2012Comments Off

St. Catharines, ON – American Color Graphics Inc., carrying on business as Vertis Communications, a printing company from the United States, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a young worker was injured.

On August 24, 2010, at the company’s facility in Stevensville, ON, there was a jam in a printing press. Workers shut down the press and engaged a safe button to prevent the machine from restarting as they looked for the jam. A summer student discovered a jam in the rear of the press and started to remove it, out of sight of the other workers. Meanwhile the rest of the crew found a jam in the front of the machine. Not knowing that the student was on the other side of the press attempting to clear another jam, the crew restarted the machine so they could manually jog the paper jam at the front. When the press was restarted and manually jogged forward, the young worker’s hand was drawn between two rollers at the rear of the press. The young worker suffered a hand injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the area of the press where the worker’s hand was drawn in was protected by a guard but it was inadequate to prevent the worker’s hand from being drawn into the rollers.

American Color Graphics Inc., carrying on business as Vertis Communications, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the in-running nip hazard on the press was equipped with a guard or other device that prevented access to its pinch point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Kerry Boon. 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.

Health & Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here

Jun 9th, 2012Comments Off

Under the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act employers are required to post the Act and any explanatory material prepared by the Ministry of Labour. Now, this requirement includes the new Health & Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here poster recommended by the Expert Advisory Panel back in 2010.

The poster summarizes workers’ health and safety rights and responsibilities and the responsibilities of employers and supervisors. It also reminds employers about the reprisal provisions under the Act (i.e., not to take action against workers for following the Act, raising workplace health and safety concerns or seeking enforcement of the OHSA). The poster encourages workers to get involved in health and safety and explains when and why to contact the Ministry of Labour.

To ensure employers have sufficient time to become aware of the new requirement to post the poster, inspectors will begin enforcing this requirement effective October 1, 2012.

Employers can now obtain a free new workplace poster “Health & Safety at Work – Prevention Starts Here” in English, French and 15 other languages

Prevention Poster

ST. CATHARINES – Town of Pelham Fined $60,000 After Worker Injured

May 23rd, 2012Comments Off

St. Catharines, ON – The Corporation of the Town of Pelham was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a young worker was injured.

On August 25, 2011, summer students working for the Town were repairing the lids of catch basins, which are the parts of storm drains used to collect debris. One worker lifted the lid of a catch basin with a pickaxe so another worker could apply tape to the basin. While the second worker’s hand was in the basin, the lid slipped from the pickaxe and crushed that worker’s hand.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the workers did not have a direct supervisor and they had not been shown how to do the job before. Instead, they received instructions from a manager and were sent to repair the catch basins alone.

The Corporation of the Town of Pelham was fined $60,000 for failing to provide adequate information and instruction to the workers on how to safely repair the catch basins.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Lena Mills. 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.

M & M Painting and Sand Blasting Ltd. Fined $70,000 After Worker Injured

May 10th, 2012Comments Off

Hamilton, ON – M & M Painting and Sand Blasting Ltd., of Cayuga, ON, was fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On May 9, 2010, workers from M & M Painting and Sand Blasting Ltd. were painting structural steel components for a company in Hamilton. A steel sheave was resting on the forks of a forklift while workers spray painted it from below. It was not secured to the forks. A gust of wind blew the sheave, causing it to fall off the forklift and seriously injure a worker.

M & M Painting and Sand Blasting Ltd. was fined $70,000 for failing to ensure that the sheave was secured against tipping or falling.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Paul Welsh. 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

Welded Tube of Canada Limited Fined $120,000 After Worker Injured

Apr 29th, 2012Comments Off

Newmarket, ON – Welded Tube of Canada Limited, a Concord steel manufacturer, was fined $120,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On August 19, 2009, a worker at the company’s Concord factory was helping to change over part of a mill used to shape steel sheets into tubes. The worker was standing near the back of the mill when a section of the mill was moved into place using a rack and pinion drive system. The worker’s leg was pinched between a moving rack and the mill, breaking the worker’s leg.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the area of the mill where the worker was standing was not guarded to prevent access to the pinch point between the moving rack and the frame of the mill.

Welded Tube of Canada Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machinery was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Philip Solomon. 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.

City of Toronto Fined $60,000 After Asbestos Violation

Apr 29th, 2012Comments Off

Toronto, ON – The City of Toronto was fined $60,000 yesterday for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after an asbestos violation.

On April 1, 2011, a Ministry of Labour inspector visited a renovation project at a building on Richmond St. E. owned by the City of Toronto. When questioned, workers did not know whether there was any asbestos containing material present at the site. A 2007 environmental audit on the building, commissioned by the City, confirmed the presence of asbestos containing material in the building. However the City had not provided the constructor with a copy of the report. There was no evidence that workers were exposed to asbestos.

The City of Toronto pleaded guilty to failing to provide a copy of the report to the constructor.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Wendy Agnew. 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

Helping to Protect New and Young Workers

Apr 29th, 2012Comments Off

Ontario is launching a four-month blitz to ensure students are safe and don’t get injured while working on their summer jobs.

Beginning May 1, 2012, an enforcement blitz will target workplaces where new and young workers are employed. Health and safety inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will check that employers comply with the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The blitz will ensure young workers:
■ Are protected by required safety measures, equipment and procedures to prevent injuries
■ Are properly instructed, trained and supervised on jobs
■ Meet minimum age requirements.

The inspectors will shut down unsafe work sites when necessary and employers could face fines through the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Welded Tube of Canada Limited Fined $120,000 After Worker Injured

Apr 27th, 2012Comments Off

Newmarket, ON – Welded Tube of Canada Limited, a Concord steel manufacturer, was fined $120,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On August 19, 2009, a worker at the company’s Concord factory was helping to change over part of a mill used to shape steel sheets into tubes. The worker was standing near the back of the mill when a section of the mill was moved into place using a rack and pinion drive system. The worker’s leg was pinched between a moving rack and the mill, breaking the worker’s leg.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the area of the mill where the worker was standing was not guarded to prevent access to the pinch point between the moving rack and the frame of the mill.

Welded Tube of Canada Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machinery was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Philip Solomon. 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.

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