OHS Canada Magazine

Oakville Toyota fined $60K after apprentice injured


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May 21, 2024
By OHS Canada

Compliance & Enforcement

Oakville Toyota has been fined $60,000 after a worker sustained injuries while performing a diagnostic assessment of a wheel bearing in a truck.

Earlier this month, the automobile dealership and service centre pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act.

On Feb. 5 2022, a Toyota truck was on a lift in the service centre, being assessed for a defective or damaged wheel bearing. A journeyperson automotive technician was assigned to troubleshoot the issue, aided by two apprentices.

The journeyperson stationed the first apprentice in the cab of the elevated truck to operate it, contrary to the lift manufacturer’s operating manual and safety documents from the Automotive Lift Institute.

The second apprentice was beneath the vehicle observing the journeyperson.

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Both the journeyperson and the apprentice had long hair tied back in a ponytail, which was allowed by the company’s safety procedures. Due to their height, they had to bend down to work beneath the elevated vehicle.

To proceed with the diagnostic testing, the first apprentice started the engine, put the vehicle in gear, and accelerated to 60 km/h. This engaged several moving parts of the vehicle.

When the second apprentice bent over the vehicle, then stepped back to observe the diagnostic process, their hair was drawn into the rotating shaft drive, and they sustained several injuries.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Training and Skills Development determined that the company did not have a safe procedure for diagnosing problems with wheel bearings. A safe procedure would have prohibited workers from working underneath a vehicle while it was being operated.

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.

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