WINDSOR, Ont. – K-Scrap Resources Ltd., a steel recycling company in Windsor, Ontario pleaded guilty and was fined $55,000 after a worker was injured.
The K-Scrap facility is divided into work areas, serviced internally by vehicle pathways and a railroad track serviced by an employer-owned locomotive.
In May 2017 a K-Scrap employee was working in an area known as the tube torching cell area. In the area, steel pipe tubes are cut to smaller lengths. The area is outlined with pre-cast concrete blocks fitted with steel racking that has notches to stop tubes from moving once they are placed into the area for processing.
The area borders the employer’s rail track. A crane is used to move the tubes into the area.
Once a tube is placed, the worker enters the area and uses a cutting torch to cut the tube into appropriate sized lengths. Once the cutting is complete, a crane removes the cut lengths of tubes out of the area. This activity is known as a ‘sweep.’
When the worker arrived in the area, it was pre-loaded with tubes. The worker began cutting the tubes with a torch. As the worker was cutting the tubes, a railcar was being pushed on the rail track by K-Scrap’s locomotive. As the railcar passed the area, the railcar struck the ends of two tubes that were protruding from the area into the path of the railcar.
The first tube that was struck caused the other end of the tube to sweep across the ground in a motion similar to the stroke of an oar in a rowboat. The second tube was then struck and swept across the ground in a similar motion to the first tube, striking the worker who was knocked to the ground and injured.
The subsequent investigation by the Ministry of Labour established that K-Scrap did not take the reasonable precaution of erecting barrier(s) and/or similar device(s) and/or visible indicator(s) to ensure that a tube and/or other material were not located in the path of the railcar.
K-Scrap committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker at the workplace contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. Specifically, the company failed to ensure that a barrier and/or other similar device and/or a visible indicator and/or visible indicators were installed to ensure that the tube and/or other material from the area were not located in the path of the railcar.
The court 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.