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Steel Truss Crushes Worker, New Brunswick Company Fined $65,000

Archived Court Bulletin

Steel Truss Crushes Worker, New Brunswick Company Fined $65,000

Ministry of Labour

Convicted: AZZ Galvanizing Canada Limited, 44 Chipman Hill, Suite #1000, Saint John, New Brunswick

Location: Industrial establishment at 49 Commerce Crescent, Acton, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A steel truss fell off a forklift onto a worker, causing crushing injuries. An operator should have attended the forklift while its load was raised and the load of steel trusses should have been secured from tipping.

Date of Offence: July 25, 2016.

Date of Conviction: April 10, 2018.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $65,000 in Burlington court by Justice of the Peace Paul A. Welsh; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson.
  • The court also 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.

Background:

  • On July 25, 2016, the worker was working as part of a night shift crew galvanizing steel trusses.
  • Part of the galvanization process includes manual cleaning of the truss for quality control. A forklift is used to move trusses to the shop floor for cleaning. Each steel truss is about 18 metres (60 feet) long and weighs about 453 kilograms (1000 pounds).
  • That night, the forklift used to move the trusses was smaller than the forklift normally used, which was in repairs. It was also the first time this smaller forklift had been used to lift a load of trusses of this size and weight.
  • A safety sensor in the operator's seat was not working at the time. In normal operation, when the forklift's operator is not seated, the sensor engages a lock system that does not allow the forklift mast to lift, lower, or tilt until the operator returns to the seat.
  • On the shop floor, the operator left the forklift unattended during the clean-up process. The sensor did not engage the lock system.
  • To accommodate the cleanup, the forks were raised approximately 0.75 to 0.90 metres (2 ½ to 3 feet) above the shop floor.  
  • The load of trusses on the forklift was also not braced or restrained from tipping in any way.
  • The worker and a co-worker were cleaning the trusses when one truss tipped from the forks and fell on the worker.
  • The worker suffered crushing injuries.  
  • The defendant, AZZ Galvanizing Canada Limited, failed to ensure that an operator attended a lifting device's controls when its load was in a raised position.
  • This contravened section 51(2)(b)(iii) of Regulation 851 (Industrial Establishments), of section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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