Company fined $175K after worker killed in warehouse construction
March 14, 2018
By Ontario Ministry of Labour
Mar. 13, 2018 – Dematic Ltd., a supplier of integrated supply chain automation, software and services, pleads guilty after a worker became pinned between the guardrail of a work platform and a steel structure and died from the injuries.
Dematic Limited was contracted to design and install a conveyor system at a warehouse under construction in Brampton, Ont. The conveyor system was part of an automated material handling system for the warehouse.
During installation of the conveyor, workers were required to install decking on previously constructed structural steel frames. The work crew moved the decking by forklift, and used a mobile work platform to access the steel frame to install the decking. The mobile work platform would be moved underneath the steel frame to provide workers access to the areas of the steel frame where the decking was to be installed.
On the day of the incident – August 9, 2016 – two workers who had been performing this task for some time were part of the work crew installing decking on the east end of one of the structural steel frames. Both were working from the mobile work platform, with one operating the controls. The mobile work platform was operated from controls that were accessed while on the platform.
In order to access various sections of the steel frame, the two workers were required to briefly position themselves below the top rail of the guardrails of the mobile work platform to pass under some of the beams of the structural steel frame.
The worker operating the controls of the mobile work platform did not have the co-worker within sight; both were on the platform while it was being moved.
While moving the platform, the operator heard a noise and stopped the platform, then saw the co-worker was pinned between the guardrail of the work platform and the steel structure.
Emergency services were called but the worker was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour attended at the workplace. Investigation revealed that while the workers had received training and instruction in the operation of the mobile work platform, the platform was not being operated at the time of the event in accordance with the operator’s manual. In particular, the manual warned against operating where insufficient clearance existed between the operator and potential obstructions.
As such, Dematic failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 93(3) of Ontario Regulation 213/91 – the Construction Projects Regulation – were carried out at a project, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Section 93(3) of the regulation required Dematic to ensure that all vehicles, machines, tools and equipment were used in accordance with operating manuals.
Following a guilty plea, the defendant was fined $175,000 by Justice of the Peace Richard Quon in Brampton court.