University of Guelph fined $50K for workplace injury

Worker jumped from vehicle to avoid rolling pump truck

University of Guelph fined $50K for workplace injury

The University of Guelph has been slapped with a $50,000 fine following a workplace injury, that saw an employee jump off a vehicle to avoid being crushed by a pump truck with a pallet of soil on it.

It happened on May 18, 2021, in the city of Guelph when a University of Guelph-owned truck delivered two pallets of 20 bales of soil to the university campus. An employee, tasked with unloading the pallets, used a mechanical liftgate attached to the vehicle to facilitate the process.

During the unloading process, the worker was attempting to lower the liftgate when the manually operated pump truck carrying the pallet of soil bales unexpectedly rolled forward. In a desperate attempt to avoid being struck by the rolling pump truck and its heavy load, the worker jumped off the liftgate, landing on the ground. This caused serious injuries.

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation revealed that the liftgate manufacturer's guidelines explicitly directed that the pump truck should have been pushed, rather than pulled, onto the liftgate to prevent loss of control. The injured worker informed the ministry that they had not received sufficient instruction on how to safely load the pump truck and pallet onto the liftgate.

As a result of these findings, the University of Guelph was charged with failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the health and safety of the worker, which is a violation of section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Employers are obligated to ensure that all employees are adequately trained and provided with the necessary guidance to perform their duties safely. Failure to do so can result in serious consequences.