Countertop installation company fined $100,000 after worker killed in Toronto
Health & Safety Fines ontario Worker Fatality
A Toronto-based countertop installation company has been fined $100,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, after one of its workers was struck by a slab of granite that tipped over while it we being removed from a storage rack.
GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. failed to ensure the stone slab was removed from the rack in a manner that would not endanger the safety of any worker.
On Oct. 8, 2021, a worker and a director of GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. went to the back of the company’s workplace yard to retrieve a slab of granite that was stored on a wooden A-frame rack, which contained four slabs of granite, two on each side of the rack, weighing about 1,100 pounds each.
This task required the use of a forklift equipped with a boom attachment with a suspended slab gripper and involved several steps.
The first was positioning the slab so the slab gripper could be attached along the top edge to lift the slab with the forklift. The worker and the director worked together to manually push the top-most slab of granite off its resting position on the A-frame to put a wooden 2×4 between the desired slab and the slab beneath it.
The worker also placed another 2×4 approximately half-way up the side of the slab to create a gap between the tops of the slabs. At this point, the desired slab was separated from the slab remaining on the A-frame, with spacing for the slab gripper maintained by 2x4s.
The next step in the process was to attach the slab gripper onto the stone slab to lift the slab with the forklift. The director returned to the forklift to prepare to lift the mast of the forklift and engage the gripper.
The worker stepped in front of the slab to position and secure the slab gripper onto the slab. The worker then stepped up onto the base of the A-frame to reach and position the slab gripper. The granite slab tipped forward, striking the worker and causing fatal injuries.
Company has since closed
Section 45(c) of Ontario Regulation 851 states that material, articles or things to be removed from a storage area, pile or rack, shall be removed in a manner that will not endanger the safety of any worker. GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. failed, as an employer, to ensure that these measures and procedures were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. has since closed for business.
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice in Toronto, GTA Granite and Marble Countertops Inc. was fined $100,000. 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.