Worker’s fatal injuries result in $150,000 fine for metal processor
Employee caught in the pinch point of a roller conveyor while it was operating.
TORONTO — A metal processor has been fined $150,000 as a result of a worker at its Toronto plant suffering fatal injuries after getting caught in the pinch point of a machine.
Venture Steel pleaded guilty to not ensuring the hazard to worker safety created by a machine that was not guarded to prevent access.
The employee working at the company’s plant on Oct. 4, 2017 was separating steel coils and preparing them for packaging and shipment on a slitter line.
The machines are used to slit one master steel coil into smaller or narrower ones. Steel coils strapped with metal banding are transferred by coil car onto one of four arms of a transfer turret called a turnstile.
A roller conveyor called the downender is critical to the movement of the coils. It’s mounted on a pivoting frame in either a vertical or horizontal position. In the vertical position, it receives the steel coils, then pivots to the horizontal to transfer the coil to a conveyor.
As the worker was preparing to package a steel coil, the downender was in the horizontal position. The worker operated the control panel to bring the downender to the upright position, which triggered an automatic extension toward the turnstile’s arm. The worker was in the working space and was trapped and pinched.
Other workers freed the worker by pressing the E-stop button on the machine. The worker was taken to hospital but died.
There were no safety devices such as guards, light curtains or mats in place to prevent access to the unguarded pinch point hazard created by the horizontal movement of the machine. It was observed in a surveillance video that the downender machine was in motion at the time of the incident and not blocked or locked out in any way.
There is another similar line in the workplace where a safety mat is installed to prevent access to the same type of pinch point.
At the time of the incident, a guarding plan for the slitter line was produced for the (then) Ministry of Labour’s occupational health and safety inspector but this had not yet been implemented.
Section 24 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Ontario Regulation 851) requires that where a machine has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, it shall be equipped with a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.