June 16, 2013 - Par-Pak Ltd. of Brampton, Ont., a manufacturer of plastic food packaging products, was fined $90,000 after a worker was caught in moving machinery and injured.
May 29, 2013 - Essar Steel Algoma Ltd.—a manufacturer of steel products—was fined $250,000 for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured.
On Mar. 23, 2011, at the company's Welland workplace, the student was taking apart a fan and washing it in a Varsol bath. When finished, the student was told to start a welding task. When beginning the task, the young worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt over overalls. Polyester materials are susceptible to ignition and should not be worn while welding. The student was not supplied with a welding jacket, welding sleeves, neck shroud or flame-retardant clothing. The supervisor did not intervene to make sure the student removed the sweatshirt and had sufficient apparel to prevent injury.
While the student was welding, the sweatshirt ignited and caught fire. The student suffered second degree burns.
Later, on Mar. 28, 2011, while the Ministry of Labour was investigating that incident, an inspector saw another worker in the same workplace not wearing apparel sufficient to prevent injury while welding. The worker was wearing a polyester-blend sweatshirt and only one welding sleeve.
CRS Specialties Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a competent person was appointed as supervisor.
Supervisor Chad Corriveau pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a worker was wearing apparel sufficient to protect the worker from injury while welding.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace B. Phillips. 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.
On Jan. 28, 2011, workers were repairing a leak in the roof of a storage warehouse at the company's Toronto workplace. The warehouse roof had six plastic dome covered skylights. A worker walking backwards tripped on the flashing of a skylight and fell through it about 5.5 metres (18 feet) to the concrete floor below. The worker's injuries were fatal.
An Ontario Ministry of Labour investigation found that there were no guardrails around the skylights while the workers were on the roof, nor did the skylights themselves constitute a protective covering over the opening in the roof. At no time during the repairs were the workers wearing or using any form of fall protection.
APCO pleaded guilty for failing as an employer to ensure that a guardrail or protective covering was used to prevent workers from falling through the skylights.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace John R. 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.
Workers are at even greater risk of slipping and falling right now due to snow, ice and frost.
These hazards are mainly at construction sites, rooftops, industrial yards, outdoor shipping areas, building grounds and other exterior locations.
“Workers need to maintain what I call situational awareness,” says Jim LaFontaine, health and safety manager for Dufferin Construction. “This means knowing your surroundings and being diligent about your ‘housekeeping’ by keeping walkways and other areas clear of materials and debris,” LaFontaine says.
In February and March, ministry inspectors are blitzing construction and industrial workplaces. They are checking for any hazards that could cause workers to slip, trip or fall, both outdoors and indoors.
“Slips, trips and falls are major hazards for workers in the construction and industrial sectors,” says George Gritziotis, Ontario’s Chief Prevention Officer.
“Especially in construction, falls remain the number one cause of critical injuries and fatalities,” Gritziotis says. “We’re working to improve health and safety and to prevent injuries and deaths of workers in Ontario.”
LaFontaine says construction and other sites need to be kept clear because a heavy snowfall overnight can bury debris and create tripping hazards.
“You just have to be so sure where you put your foot down,” says LaFontaine, who is management co-chair of Ontario’s Labour-Management Health and Safety Committee.
As well, friction is greatly reduced if workers walk on construction materials like steel and plywood or climb ladders that are covered in frost, snow or ice, he says. The tread on workers' footwear needs to be in good condition and anti-slip coverings may need to be worn.
LaFointaine says workers also need to be alert to possible falling snow and ice from steel and other materials overhead.
“De-icing is critical on scaffolding and bridges,” LaFointaine says. “Falling ice can be very dangerous.”
Workers can fall from heights as well as on the same level such as on floors, the ground and other surfaces.
“When we look at the history of injuries from falls in Ontario, it’s very rarely the most complicated things that cause an injury,” says Gordon Leffley, an industrial field consultant for Workplace Safety and Prevention Services.
“It’s actually the simple things that cause injuries,” he says. “Sometimes we need a little reminder of the simple things we need to pay attention to in order to prevent those injuries.”
On Sept. 20, 2010, a worker at the company's Tecumseh facility was cleaning a machine. Part of the machine consisted of a waste chute that contained a rotating vane to control the rate of debris falling onto a conveyor. The worker noticed debris in this part of the machine and reached a hand up through the bottom of the chute to clean the area. The machine was not equipped with a guard to prevent access to its pinch point, and the worker's arm was trapped.
After a trial, on Dec. 18, 2012, Bonduelle Ontario was found guilty of failing to ensure that the machine was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point, for the safety of a worker.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Angela Renaud. 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.
Inspectors from the Ministry of Labour will visit:
• Underground mines to check on diesel emissions and other hazards that could affect air quality in January and February;
• Industrial and construction workplaces to check for slips, trips and falls hazards in February and March; and
• Health care workplaces to check on workplace violence and harassment in February and March.
The blitzes will:
• Raise awareness of health and safety in the workplace;
• Prevent injuries and illnesses that could arise from unsafe work practices; and
• Check that workplaces are complying with the law.
During blitzes, inspectors will check on the condition and maintenance of safety equipment, worker training, the use of safety equipment and other potential health and safety hazards to help prevent workplace injuries.
Protecting workers on the job is part of the McGuinty government's continued commitment to preventing workplace injuries through its Safe At Work Ontario strategy, while creating jobs.
The blitzes are part of Ontario’s enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations. This past fall blitzes also targeted supervision at construction sites, machine guarding hazards at industrial workplaces, infection prevention and control at health care workplaces and ore transfer in underground mines.
Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 47 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
Between July 1 and Aug. 31, 2012, ministry inspectors conducted a blitz of hazards involving tower cranes, mobile cranes and concrete pumping equipment. And while the inspections were limited to Ontario, the takeaways are relevant to anywhere across the country.
Inspection blitzes are part of the province's Safe At Work Ontario compliance strategy. They are announced to the sector by the ministry in advance although individual workplaces are not notified in advance. The blitzes raise awareness of known workplace hazards and promote compliance with the OHSA and its regulations.
During the blitz, inspectors focused on the following key priorities:
• Safe access and fall prevention: Inspectors checked for the required presence and adequacy of access ladders and guardrails or other access equipment. They also checked for required fall arrest equipment to protect workers who could fall from tower cranes.
• Proximity to overhead energized power lines: Inspectors checked if the crane operator maintained the minimum distance of approach from overhead energized power lines, if the voltage of such power lines was identified and if a procedure was in place to maintain the minimum distance of the crane or its load from the overhead power lines.
• Tower crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records at the construction site on the condition of tower cranes, before and after erection, including a professional engineer's design drawings for tower crane installation. Inspectors checked that tower cranes were properly inspected prior to first use, and regularly inspected and maintained afterwards. Inspectors also reviewed logbook entries to ensure operational functions (such as limit and overload limit switches) were properly tested.
• Mobile crane maintenance and other records: Inspectors checked for records such as the crane operator log book and operator manual. Inspectors checked that cranes were inspected and maintained as required.
• Training: Inspectors checked that mobile crane operators were certified to operate a crane at a construction site or were being instructed in crane operation and accompanied by a person who had the required certification.
• Various other issues: Inspectors checked on the structural, mechanical and foundational integrity of cranes, safety systems, setup, proximity to people and safe hoisting practices.
The inspectors visited many types of workplaces, including sewer and water main construction and repair; commercial building construction; asphalt paving and roadwork on existing streets; hydro utility installation, underground and above ground; underground tunnel construction; cable installation involving various types of telephone, electrical and fibre optics; and hydroelectric and nuclear power plants construction activity.
Inspectors issued orders at a rate of 2.53 per workplace visit. During this blitz, inspectors visited 527 construction projects and issued 1,481 orders, including 149 stop work orders. The total number of visits was 608 because some of the workplaces were visited several times. Orders were issued for various violations of the OHSA and the Regulations for Construction Projects.
In general, the blitz results indicate hazards involving failure to use personal protective equipment continue to be a at concern on construction projects. Maintenance of vehicles, tools and equipment also represents a major health and safety concern. Crane-related issues (such as use of outriggers, rigging methods and equipment records) represent areas where continued vigilance is also required. There is a need for a better understanding of the regulatory requirements for constructors and employers on construction projects, such as ensuring that the necessary controls for occupational health and safety are developed and implemented at construction projects.
Employers should focus on raising workplace parties' awareness of key health and safety hazards involving traffic on construction sites and during roadwork projects and thereby promoting improved health and safety for workers on construction sites with traffic and road work projects.
A health and safety culture requires all workplace parties to be vigilant and to give appropriate attention to workplace health and safety. In other words, the workplace must have a well- functioning internal responsibility system in which all workplace parties take responsibility for their own health and safety and that of their co-workers. A strong commitment by everyone in the workplace is needed to prevent injuries and illness and to reduce risk. Workplace parties are encouraged to work together to identify and control crane-related hazards found on construction projects.
Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 266,000 field visits, 40 inspection blitzes and issued more than 426,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.
On July 26, 2010, a worker at the company's Kitchener factory was operating a machine that folds and glues cardboard into boxes. The machine jammed and the worker opened its gate and reached in to remove the jam. Once the jam was cleared, the machine activated and crushed the worker's arm.
An investigation found the machine's moving parts had not been stopped and blocked prior to the worker removing the jam.
Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the jam was removed only when motion that could endanger the worker was stopped and the machine's moving parts were blocked.
On Dec. 29, 2010, at the Kitchener factory, a worker was checking a machine to make sure sanitary standards were met before work began for the day. The worker saw a piece of plastic wrap stuck in the machine's conveyor system. The worker reached in to remove the plastic wrap and the conveyor activated when the debris was dislodged. The worker's glove got caught in the conveyor and the worker's hand was pulled into the equipment.
The worker had not been instructed on the proper procedures for removing debris from the machine. The worker was also not taught how to effectively lock out power to the machine.
Maple Leaf Foods was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the worker was provided information, instruction and supervision on the safe procedures for cleaning and locking out the machine.
The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson. 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.
Throughout October and November, Ministry of Labour industrial inspectors will check on machine guarding and lockout hazards. They will also check on hazards involving musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs), chemical and noise exposure and workplace violence and harassment.
According to Ministry officials, hazards at manufacturing sector workplaces can result in injuries, illness or even death. The inspectors will check that:
• Exposed moving parts and in-running nip hazards on machines and equipment are properly guarded.
• Lockout procedures are followed to prevent machines from starting when repairs or maintenance are carried out.
• Equipment is maintained in good condition.
• Workers are trained and supervised on lockout procedures.
• Workers are protected from other hazards.
The blitz is part of the McGuinty government’s Safe at Work Ontario enforcement strategy to increase compliance with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and its regulations.
In 2010, hazards involving inadequate machine guarding and lockout procedures were among the top four causes of injuries, according to Workplace Safety and Insurance Board data. These types of injuries also tended to be the most severe.
Since 2008, ministry inspectors have conducted more than 345,000 field visits, 46 inspection blitzes and issued more than 560,000 compliance orders in Ontario workplaces.