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Fall on Stairs Injures Worker, $60,000 Fine for Karmax in Aurora

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Fall on Stairs Injures Worker, $60,000 Fine for Karmax in Aurora

Convicted: Magna International Inc. operating as Karmax Heavy Stamping, 337 Magna Drive, Aurora, Ontario, a manufacturer  of automotive parts.

Location of Workplace: The company's plant facility at 333 Market Drive, Milton, Ontario.

Description of Offence: A worker fell and was injured while simultaneously carrying a part and climbing stairs to reach the top of a platform.

Date of Offence: March 23, 2018.

Date of Conviction: January 23, 2020.

Penalty Imposed:

  • Following a guilty plea,  Karmax was fined $60,000 in provincial offences court in Burlington by Justice of the Peace Karen Murphy; Crown Counsel Nicole Sylvester.
  • 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 March 23, 2018, a worker was assisting another in carrying an automation feeder part while ascending two stairs to reach the top of a platform.
  • The worker fell while ascending the second step, just prior to reaching the platform, sustaining an injury.
  • A (then) Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the stairs were inconsistent in their rise. The height variances between adjacent stairs indicated that the worker would have stepped onto each step with a 1 inch (2.54 cm) or greater height difference. The riser height of the ground to the first stair measured 23.8 cm, the riser height between the first and the second step measured 17.78 cm, and the riser height between the second step and the platform ranged between 20.3 to 21.6 cm.
  • A Ministry of Labour ergonomist concluded that the two-person lift-and-carry task required the workers' attention to be split between the safe handling of the automation feeder, lifting as a team, and ascending onto the platform. The attention required when performing a team lift - combined with the variances between adjacent steps - was a hazard with respect to tripping and falling on the stairs.     
  • Given these circumstance, Karmax failed as an employer to ensure that the carrying of the automation feeder in tandem on the stairs did not endanger the safety of any worker as prescribed by section 45(a) of the Ontario Regulation 851/90 at the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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