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School board fined $50K after student injured in manufacturing class


January 15, 2016
By Ontario Ministry of Labour

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Jan. 15, 2016 – Peel District School Board (PDSB) pleaded guilty and has been given a $50,000 fine after a student was injured in a classroom incident that resulted in a fracture injury.

On April 9, 2014, three students at Rick Hansen Secondary School in Mississauga, Ont., were attending a manufacturing program class and were assigned the task of removing four old caster wheels from a metal table. Sitting atop the metal table was a 450-lb metal industrial shear (a sheet-metal-forming device) that had been brought to the school by the teacher without the knowledge of the school administration, according to the Ontario Ministry of Labour (MOL).

A warning label on the shear itself indicates that the machine should be secured for stability and safety; the manufacturer’s manual instructs that mounting holes on each of the shear’s four feet should be used to bolt the machine securely to the floor or stand, said the investigation report, adding that the shear was not secured but school administration was not aware of that.

According to the ministry, the three students, as instructed by their teacher, used a floor jack to raise one end of the table and cut off one of the legs, including the old caster wheel. One of the students then got the new caster and asked another student to lower the jack to see how the new caster fit on the table leg. When the jack was lowered the table tipped forward and the shear slid off the table, landing on the back of one of the students who was crouched down by the table’s legs. The investigation found that the three students did not know that the shear was not secured to the work table and at no time did their teacher instruct them to remove the shear from the table before cutting off the table legs.

The student was transported to hospital by ambulance. As a result of being struck by the shear, the student sustained a fracture.

PDSB pleaded guilty to failing as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker in a workplace — specifically to failing to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the shear was secured to the surface upon which it was set, and was fined $50,000.

In addition to the fine, the court 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.