Rarely are senior corporate officials jailed for health and safety offences in Canada. But recently, two company directors of an importer and retailer of furniture and accessories, were jailed for 25 days after a worker died from a fall.
The Ontario Ministry of Labour says, in its press release, that the worker was moving merchandise at the Brampton workplace of New Mex Canada Inc., using a combination forklift /operator-up platform called an order picker. The order picker had been modified to add a platform supported by the forks that was tack-welded to the operator platform. There was no guardrail around the added platform. The worker was not wearing fall protection. The worker was pronounced dead after he was found on the floor. The cause of death was determined to be blunt force trauma to the head.
The Ministry of Labour states that its investigation found that there had been no health and safety training provided to warehouse workers, and workers said that they were not provided with fall protection equipment.
The two corporate directors were charged with failing as directors of New Mex Canada Inc. to take reasonable care that the corporation complied with the Occupational Health and Safety Act and with Regulation 851 (Industrial Establishments). Both pleaded guilty. Both received a 25-day jail sentence, to be served on weekends. Also, both were ordered to take a health and safety course within 60 days.
Further, the employer, New Mex Canada Inc. was fined $250,000. It pleaded guilty to failing to provide training and supervision to a worker regarding fall protection and/or working from a height, and failing to ensure the safety measures required by law were carried out.
The Ministry of Labour’s press release can be found here.