Workplace safety breach: Gilbertson Enterprises convicted in critical injury of worker at Ontario Quarry
Health & Safety Fines ontario
Bernt Gilbertson Enterprise Limited, operating as Gilbertson Enterprises in Richards Landing, Ont., has been found guilty of a serious offence related to workplace safety.
The company, which specializes in custom aggregate services, was convicted following an incident at Medhurst Creek Quarry located about 48 kilometres north of Wawa.
The offence occurred on May 15, 2021, when a worker sustained critical injuries during maintenance work on a portable cone crusher. The incident involved a motor that fell while maintenance was being performed. According to the investigation, Gilbertson Enterprises failed to take necessary precautions to ensure the worker’s safety.
The conviction took place on May 3, 2023, in Provincial Offences Court in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario. Justice of the Peace Philip Stanghetta imposed a fine of $60,000 on the company, following their guilty plea. Additionally, the court mandated a 25 percent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, with the surcharge being allocated to a special provincial government fund to support crime victims.
The incident unfolded as two workers employed by Gilbertson Enterprises were conducting maintenance on a portable cone crusher, which involved replacing drive belts on the motor. The motor, weighing around 3,700 pounds, was connected to a loader using two chain slings and hooks. However, it remained attached to a pivoting base with only two of its four mounting bolts.
During the maintenance process, the motor was partially suspended by the loader to facilitate belt replacement. While re-tensioning the belts using a bottle jack, a worker reached under the motor. Unfortunately, one of the chain slings supporting the motor broke, causing it to fall and resulting in a critical injury to the worker.
The subsequent investigation conducted by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development revealed critical safety deficiencies. The chain slings used for lifting the motor were found to lack labels indicating their maximum load rating capacity or working load limit. Furthermore, a Ministry engineer determined that the rigging was unsuitable for lifting, suggesting that the tension in the failed chain exceeded its weight-bearing capacity.
To ensure compliance with safety regulations, the Occupational Health and Safety Act requires the labelling of slings and rigging with their maximum load rating capacity or working load limit. Unfortunately, Gilbertson Enterprises failed to meet this requirement, violating section 25(2)(h) of the Act.