Guelph plant fined $50,000; worker fall through chute

A metal chute

A metal chute – representational image

GUELPH, ON – Nartech Metal Products Inc., a Windsor-based automotive parts manufacturer with a plant in Guelph, pleaded guilty and has been fined $50,000 after a worker fell through an open scrap chute and suffered injuries as a result.

On March 27, 2015, a young worker was assisting another worker with changing a die on a mechanical press machine that is used to shape metal. While unbolting the top portion of the die, the young worker stepped into an open scrap chute and fell about 20 feet onto a scrap conveyor. The worker suffered a broken bone as a result of the fall.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the press machine has six scrap chutes, which are flush with the floor. When the press was in run mode, the scrap chutes at the press were guarded by interlocking doors which, if opened, would stop the press. However, when the press was shut down for repair work or die changes, the scrap chutes were not closed or guarded. There was no signage to warn workers of the hazards of the open scrap chutes, and workers had not been trained or instructed to close the chutes when working on the press.

Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) requires an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the act and its regulations are carried out at the workplace. Section 15(a) of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments – Ontario Regulation 851 – prescribes that a cover on an opening in a floor, roof or other surface shall be secured in place. The defendant failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by Regulation 851 were carried out at the workplace, contrary to the OHSA.

The sentence was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson in Guelph court on October 7, 2016.

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. – CINEWS

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