OHS Canada Magazine

University of Guelph fined more than $60,000 after worker injured while unloading truck

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September 5, 2023
By OHS Canada

Health & Safety Fines ontario University of Guelph

The University of Guelph in Ontario. Photo: Google Streetview

The University of Guelph has been fined $50,000, plus a victim fine surcharge, after a worker was injured while unloading a pallet of soil from a truck.

On May 18, 2021, a University of Guelph-owned truck delivered two pallets of 20 bales of soil to the university campus in Guelph, Ont., and a materials handler, employed by the university, was assigned to unload the pallets from the truck.

A mechanical liftgate was attached to the end of the vehicle to make it easier to unload cargo. The worker began unloading a pallet by pulling a manually operated “pump truck” onto the liftgate.

As the worker was attempting to reach the control mechanism of the liftgate to lower it to the ground, the pump truck with the pallet of soil bales rolled forward.

To avoid being struck by the pump truck and its pallet load, the worker jumped off the liftgate and landed on the ground.


As a result of the impact, the worker sustained serious injuries.

A Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development investigation revealed that the liftgate manufacturer guidelines directed that the pump truck should have been pushed, not pulled, onto the liftgate, to avoid a loss of control.

The worker advised the ministry they had not been given sufficient instruction on how to safely get the pump truck and pallet onto the liftgate.

By failing to ensure the liftgate manufacturer guidelines were followed, the University of Guelph failed as an employer to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the health and safety of the worker, contrary to 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Convicted: University of Guelph, 50 Stone Road East, Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1.

Following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, the University of Guelph was fined $50,000. The court also imposed a victim fine surcharge of 25%, as required by the Provincial Offences Act, bringing the total to $62,500.


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