Countertop maker fined $50,000 after newly hired worker seriously injured in London, Ont.
Compliance & Enforcement Fines
A countertop manufacturer has been fined $50,000 after a worker was seriously injured on the job in London, Ont.
Hyundai L and C Canada, operating as Hanstone Canada based in Moncton, N.B., is a manufacturer of stone products, such as quartz countertops.
On Jan. 12, 2022, workers were assigned to clean a “crumbler” (a machine that crushes stone material into smaller pieces) at HanStone Canada’s facility in London, Ont. The crumbler needed to be cleaned each time there was a changeover in quartz products due to colour changes in the stone.
The crumbler was rolled out of an enclosed area into a cleaning area adjacent to a production line. It was moved along metal rails, between two tall platforms, to the end of the rails. The end was two feet beyond the platforms.
The platforms had guard rails on the open sides. There was an eight-inch gap between the end of the guardrail and the machine. The platforms were accessed by fixed ladders at each end.
One of the workers left the right-side platform via the gap and walked out onto the unguarded rail, balancing to clean the front of the machine. The worker used an air tool connected to an air hose to do the cleaning.
When done, the worker turned to get back onto the platform and descend the ladder. The air hose became tangled between the worker’s legs, causing the worker to fall about 4.8 feet to the floor below and be injured.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development found there was no written job instruction, training, policy or procedure for the task of cleaning the crumbler.
The worker, newly hired, was trained by two co-workers, who themselves were not given any specific training on the task. One of the co-workers showed the injured worker how to clean the front of the machine from the rail. The injured worker saw the co-worker cleaning it that way too.
The injured worker’s supervisor advised the ministry that the front of the machine should be cleaned before the machine is rolled all the way out so it could be reached from the platform. However, neither the injured worker, nor the co-workers who trained the injured worker, were aware of that step. The workers were left to work out the task’s details themselves.
HanStone Canada failed as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to the worker, to protect the worker’s health and safety, contrary to section 25(2)(a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA).
Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, HanStone Canada was fined $50,000. 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.