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Man suffers severe workplace injury; employer hit with fine

When heavy equipment and heavy products are present at a work site, safety should be on every worker's mind. ALthough laws are in place to protect the rights of workers in Canada, they need to be observed in order to be effective. A serious workplace injury was the consequence when safety laws were ignored at a factory in Ontario.

The accident took place on April 29, 2014. A group of workers were participating in a training session at a facility for the manufacturing of wind turbines. During the session the group, with the help of a powered lift vehicle, were moving a one-tonne steel ring into a storage rack. The workers used a sling to move the ring, but they were unable to reach it to remove the sling after the ring was placed in the rack.

The lift operator attempted to move the sling with the lift but inadvertently knocked the ring out of the rack. The ring hit one of the workers, pinning him to the ground. Another employee used the lift to get the ring off the injured worker. The worker sustained critical injuries and was taken to hospital to undergo surgery.

An investigation conducted by the Ontario Ministry of Labour found that the company did not have any written training documents or procedures for this storage maneuver. On October 11, 2016 the company, which closed the facility in 2015, was fined $75,000 for the incident, plus a 25 percent victim fine surcharge. This was the second fine for a workplace injury levied against the company.

Comprehensive training is the foundation for safety in the workplace in British Columbia. When an employer fails to provide such training, there may be unfortunate consequences. Any man or woman who has the misfortune to suffer a workplace accident may wish to speak with a legal professional who practices labour and employment law to help him or her ensure his or her rights are upheld.

Source: stcatharinesstandard.ca, "Company fined for Thorold turbine plant injury", Bill Sawchuk, Oct. 11, 2016

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