Wind turbine maker fined after worker struck by moving machinery

Thursday June 22, 2017
Written by Ontario Ministry of Labour
Jun. 22, 2017 - Siemens Wind Power has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker fell from a weigh scale and then was struck by a moving loader.

The company, formerly operating as Siemens Canada Limited, has a head office at1577 North Service Road East in Oakville and is a manufacturer of wind turbine blades at a plant in Tillsonburg.

On July 13, 2015, a worker at the plant was injured after falling from a wind turbine blade which was situated on a weigh scale. The blade had been lifted onto the weigh scale by means of a loader equipped with a c-clamp. The c-clamp had been hooked to the blade, and the loader lifted the blade on to the weigh scale. Once the weighing had been done, the worker attempted to unhook the c-clamp by climbing up inside the blade (which is hollow) while balancing on the perimeter rim into which the hook is placed. This method was used because a ladder would not fit between the loader and the weigh scale.

The worker lost balance and fell approximately six feet to the floor. At that point, the loader operator got out of the loader to help the worker, not realizing the machine was still in gear. The loader rolled forward and struck the fallen worker, who suffered multiple injuries as a result.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act requires an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker. Siemens Wind Power failed to take the reasonable precaution of providing a work platform or other surface from which a worker could work while attaching or unhooking a c-clamp from the root end of wind turbine blades. This is contrary to section 25(2)(h) and to section 66(1) of the act.

A fine of $60,000 was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Woodstock court on June 16, 2017.

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.

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