Waste material fell on workers, causing injuries
Ontario-based Gerdau Ameristeel Incorporation was fined $115,000 plus a 25 per cent surcharge after two workers were injured by a waste material that fell on them.
The charges stem from a Nov. 12, 2018 incident, when a fire occurred in the back of a furnace in the Whitby plant.
Though the fire was immediately extinguished, a hydraulic hose was damaged and required replacement. Two workers were assigned to perform the repair work. 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 Oshawa Lakeridge Hospital. They suffered extensive and critical injuries from the strike.
Investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that there was no overhead protection provided by Gerdau to protect the workers from the hazards of falling material.
Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act provides that an employer shall ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace. Also, Section 35 of the Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) states that overhead protection shall be provided where falling material may endanger any worker.
“Gerdau failed to ensure that overhead protection was provided to workers where falling material may endanger any worker. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act,” according to the Ontario government.
Previously, Cyclone Manufacturing Incorporated was fined $60,000 after one worker was injured and required surgery from being pinned by a wing of an aircraft. Also, Amer-Can Investments, Inc. was fined $40,000 for the injury of one worker from contact with a shear blade.