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Ontario manufacturer fined $55K for critical worker injury


May 31, 2019
By Ontario Ministry of Labour

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May 31, 2019 – An Ontario manufacturer of concrete products including paving stones and patio slabs was fined $55,000 in Ontario provincial court after pleading guilty a charge involving a critical worker injury.

Best Way Stone Limited of Woodbridge, Ontario, was convicted and fined May 24, 2019 by Justice of the Peace Rhonda Shousterman in Newmarket provincial court. 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.

On January 26, 2018, a worker at the comapny’s Woodbridge plant had the task of getting the facility’s HESS line ready for production. The HESS line is used in the manufacture of paving stones. It includes the HESS machine and a de-stacker, which pushes transfer boards carrying the formed paving stones through the line and into the HESS machine.

The worker was operating the HESS line from a control room. When worker noticed that a transfer board had become jammed in the de-stacker, the worker entered the de-stacker area through a metal screen door and two sliding gates and pushed the stuck board, causing it to move into the HESS machine.

At that point the chain drive, which was still operating, moved a stack of 16 backed-up transfer boards from the stack holder into the de-stacker area. The 16 backed-up transfer boards weighed about 1,600 pounds.

The moving stack of boards struck the worker and pushed the worker into a lift table, resulting in critical injuries.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) provides that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the act and regulations are complied with at the workplace.

The Ontario Ministry of Labour ruled that Best Way Stone failed to ensure that the exposed moving parts of the de-stacker and associated chain drives were equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to the moving parts, contrary to the OHSA.