N.B. company fined $65K after steel truss crushes worker

Tuesday April 10, 2018
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Apr. 10, 2018 - Following a guilty plea, AZZ Galvanizing Canada of New Brunswick has been fined $65,000 after a steel truss fell off a forklift onto a worker, causing crushing injuries.

On July 25, 2016, the worker was working as part of a night shift crew galvanizing steel trusses in the Acton, Ont., industrial establishment. 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 (1,000 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, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour.

The MOL investigation found that 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 Ontario MOL says 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, adding that an operator should have attended the forklift while its load was raised and the load of steel trusses should have been secured from tipping.

This contravened section 51(2)(b)(iii) of Regulation 851 (Industrial Establishments), of section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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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