GUELPH, ONT. — Con-Cast Pipe Inc. of Guelph, Ont. has pleaded guilty and been fined $70,000 in relation to a 2015 incident in which a 1,100-pound steel pallet fell on a young worker, causing critical injuries.
The incident took place on Aug. 18, 2015 in the yard of the company's facility located at 299 Brock Rd. S. in Guelph, a Ministry of Labour statement noted.
There were a number of concrete boxes in a row and a steel pallet was attached to each concrete box, so that the steel pallet was oriented vertically.
Each steel pallet was to be separated from each concrete box.
The pallet would then be lowered to the ground and removed from the area with the use of a forklift.
The company procedure was for a worker to loosen the steel pallets from the concrete boxes using a scraper chisel and a sledgehammer.
After the pallets were loosened, a forklift would insert its forks into the box and the loosened pallet would be nudged onto the forks and lowered to the ground.
On the day of the incident, the worker had loosened the pallets on a number of concrete boxes. A forklift driver was assisting with the final separation of the pallets from the concrete boxes.
During the separation of one of the pallets, the worker was standing in front of the next concrete box in line when its corresponding steel pallet began to fall on its own.
The steel pallet caught the worker's leg, pinning the worker to the ground. The driver used the forklift to lift the pallet from the worker and coworkers attended to provide first aid before emergency services arrived. The worker suffered critical injuries.
The ministry's investigation revealed that the employer failed to take the reasonable precaution of spacing the concrete boxes adequately apart before workers commenced removal of the steel pallets, and that the employer had failed to take the reasonable precaution of completely removing each steel pallet from its concrete box before moving on to loosening adjacent boxes.
Con-Cast Pipe Inc. pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
This is the second time Con-Cast Pipe Inc. has been convicted for a violation of the OHSA.
In 2010, the company was convicted under the same section of the OHSA and was fined $55,000.
Justice of the Peace Bruce Philips passed sentence in a Guelph court on Aug. 9.