National Steel Car Ltd. Fined $140,000 After Worker Suffers Permanent Injury
HAMILTON, ON - National Steel Car Limited, a designer and manufacturer of railroad freight cars in Hamilton, has pleaded guilty and received a fine of $140,000 after a worker received a permanent injury while operating a hydraulic press machine in the workplace.
On December 19, 2011, a worker was helping a press operator on a hydraulic press at the company's plant located at 600 Kenilworth Avenue North. The helper noticed a loose machine component located behind the machine's punch line. The helper thought the operator had stopped operation of the press and proceeded to reach under the punch line to retrieve or adjust the component; however, the operator activated the machine and it moved, pinching the helper's arm in the press and resulting in a permanent injury.
The press was designed to accommodate the use of two control pedestals whenever two workers were producing parts. It also includes an electronic safety feature called an active opt-electronic protective device, which produces an infrared light beam that can provide worker protection by stopping the press when something, including a hand or arm, is inside the beam's surveillance area. After each change of the punch set, the beam must be adjusted so it runs no lower than 14 mm below the punch centre line.
A Ministry of Labour investigation found that at the time of the incident, the beam had not been properly adjusted and as a result, it did not provide protection to workers. The investigation also found that although some workers received training from an outside provider on how to operate the press, the two workers involved in the incident did not receive this training. They were not provided with specific instructions relating to the press, were not made aware of a second control pedestal and were not made aware of the need to verify and adjust the position of the light beam before commencing the work.
National Steel Car pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
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.
Court Information at a Glance
Ontario Court of Justice
45 Main Street
Justice of the Peace Jerry Woloschuk
Date of Sentencing:
April 24, 2014
National Steel Car Ltd.
600 Kenilworth Avenue North
Occupational health and safety
Occupational Health and Safety Act