Convicted: Great Lakes Copper Ltd., 1010 Clarke Road, PO Box 7515, London, Ontario, a manufacturer of copper tubing for the plumbing, refrigeration and industrial markets.
Location of Workplace: A separate shipping/warehouse facility known as “CDC” at 385 South Edgeware Road, St. Thomas.
Description of Offence: A worker was injured after being struck by tubing that slid as it was being moved.
Date of Offence: November 4, 2019.
Date of Conviction: March 29, 2021.
- Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in London, Great Lakes Copper Ltd. was fined $75,000 by Justice of the Peace Robert M. Seneshen; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.
- 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 November 4, 2019, a worker from a temporary help agency and a second worker were working in the warehouse, “picking straight stock” which is retrieving stock and preparing it for shipping. This task is usually done by one worker; however, on that day the temporary worker was shadowing the second worker.
- The second worker operated the forklift to lift the copper tubing, while the temporary worker was on foot, working between a weigh scale and a desk. They placed a bundle of copper tubes (made up of several smaller bundles) into a tube rack on the weigh scale, to be weighed and split into bundles of desired weights.
- Once the bundles were weighed and apportioned, the temporary worker wrapped two slings around the bundles, one at each end, and attached them to the forklift extension. Intending to maintain a tight bundle, a third “cinch strap” was added to the middle of the bundle.
- The cinch strap was placed loosely over the top of the bundle after the forklift had already started lifting it. However, due to the height of the lift at the time, the temporary worker did not see that the strap had also been thrown around the fixed frame of the tube rack on the scale. The second worker raised the lift further, which now consisted of the tubing bundle and the tube rack.
- The second worker could see the rack was tipping and began to lower the lift. However, the cinch strap released, causing the bundle and tube rack to fall and strike the temporary worker, who was knocked into a nearby desk and onto the floor where the worker was pinned. The tube rack and tube bundle pinning the worker weighed about 1,300 lbs. The worker suffered injuries.
- Great Lakes Copper had a standard operating procedure (SOP) for picking straight stock, and the workers had been trained on this SOP. However, the SOP did not address the step of adding a cinch strap to bundles being lifted, despite the fact that the schematic in the SOP shows a cinch strap on a bundle. It was the general practice among workers to add a cinch strap, but they had not been trained on how to do so safely and the cinch strap had sometimes been caught on the tube rack frame during previous lifts.
- Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides that an employer shall ensure that the prescribed measures and procedures are carried out in the workplace. Section 45(a) of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments (Regulation 851) prescribes that “material, articles or things required to be lifted, carried or moved, shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards, including protective clothing, guards or other precautions as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material, articles or things does not endanger the safety of any worker.”
- Great Lakes Copper failed to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the regulation were complied with at the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the act. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.