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Steel manufacturer fined $115,000 after two workers injured on the job


A steel manufacturer in Whitby, Ont. has been fined $115,000 in provincial court after two workers were injured in a workplace accident.

The workers were struck with a piece of waste material that had fallen from a furnace.

Following a guilty plea, Gerdau Ameristeel Incorporation was fined by Justice of the Peace Karim Pemji. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent surcharge credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

On November 12, 2018, a fire occurred in the back of a furnace in the Whitby plant. The fire was immediately extinguished but a hydraulic hose was damaged and required replacement. Two workers were assigned to perform the repair work.

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The workers began the repair and were working directly underneath the outer edge of the furnace roof/lid, which had been swung out to expose the burnt hydraulic hose for repair.

As the workers were removing the hydraulic hose, a large piece of waste material known in the industry as “slag” became dislodged and fell about 15 feet, striking both workers. It was estimated that the slag weighed approximately 80 pounds.

Emergency services were contacted and the two workers were transported to hospital. The two workers suffered extensive and critical injuries from the strike.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development determined that there was no overhead protect ion provided by Gerdau to protect the workers from the hazards of falling material.

The Occupational Health and Safety Act says that an employer must ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace. and Ontario regulations indicate overhead protection shall be provided where falling material may endanger any worker.

The ministry found that Gerdau failed to ensure that overhead protection was provided to workers where falling material may endanger any worker.