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Oakville workers injured cleaning tank

Burlington, ON -- Prokleen Washing Services (Oakville) Inc., an Aurora, Ont.-based cleaning company which owns and ...


Burlington, ON — Prokleen Washing Services (Oakville) Inc., an Aurora, Ont.-based cleaning company which owns and operates an industrial establishment in Oakville that specializes in the cleaning of tanker trucks, was fined $60,000 on June 6, 2006, for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that resulted in chemical burns to two employees, reports Canada NewsWire.

On May 16, 2005, two workers were on the outside of a tank cleaning the inside when one of the workers decided to enter the tank to clean some dirty spots. The worker climbed inside and proceeded to use a chemical cleaner without putting on any protective equipment such as respiratory equipment, coveralls, gloves, safety glasses, hardhat, five-point harness and lifeline. All of this equipment was available for the worker’s use at the workplace.

The cleaner emitted strong fumes and the worker inside the tank soon became disoriented and fell down unconscious in the tank, knocking over the pail of cleaner. When yells from the second worker, who was outside, failed to awaken the first worker, who was inside, the second worker called out “man down” and entered the tank. The second worker wore no respiratory equipment, but tried to refrain from breathing while attempting to get the first worker into a five-point harness for extrication from the tank. The second worker then fell unconscious too.

Other workers managed to remove the second worker who suffered chemical burns to the face, right arm and buttock, abdomen and chest. Firefighters extricated the first worker who received chemical burns to the legs, buttocks and back. The incident occurred at the company’s tanker truck cleaning facility at 2378 Royal Windsor Drive in Oakville.

Prokleen Washing Services (Oakville) Inc. pleaded guilty, as an employer, to:
failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to the first worker on the cleaning of a confined space with a chemical stripper and
failing to provide current information, instruction and supervision to the second worker on the removal from a confined space of a worker that required assistance.

This charge was contrary to Section 25(2)(a) of the act.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Barry Quinn of the Ontario Court of Justice in Burlington. In addition, the court imposed a 25% 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.