Wind turbine manufacturer fined after worker critically injured
St. Catharines, ON – TSP Canada Towers Inc., a company that manufactures wind turbines and towers, pleaded guilty and was fined $75,000 after a worker was critically injured when a one-ton structural steel ring fell from a storage rack.
On April 29, 2014, workers were being trained in moving a structural steel ring (also known as paint ring) and placing it into a storage rack at the workplace. The ring was approximately 15 feet in circumference and weighed about one ton.
The paint rings are stored standing up vertically in the storage rack. In order to move the paint ring, the workers attached one end of a sling to the ring. The other end of the sling was attached to a reach stacker (a vehicle used for lifting and transporting large pieces of equipment). The operator of the reach stacker lifted the paint ring off the ground while other workers helped to guide the paint ring into the storage rack.
After the paint ring was inserted into the storage rack, the workers were unable to remove the sling from the ring because it was too high and out of reach as the sling was located at a 12 o’clock position at the top of the ring. The operator of the reach stacker began using the machine to pull on the sling in order to rotate the ring while it was inside the storage rack. The intent was to move the sling from the 12 o’clock position to the 3 o’clock position to allow workers to access and remove the sling from the paint ring. However, during this rotation, the ring popped out of the rack, struck a worker and pinned the worker to the ground.
Other workers used the reach stacker to lift the paint ring off the injured worker. The worker sustained critical injuries that required surgery.
An investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed TSP did not have a written procedure or documented training for performing this task. Section 45(a) of Ontario Regulation 851 – the Industrial Establishments Regulation – provides that materials shall be lifted, carried or moved in such a way and with such precautions and safeguards as will ensure that the lifting, carrying or moving of the material does not endanger the safety of any worker. The company failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by the Industrial Establishments Regulation were carried out at the workplace, contrary to Section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
The sentence was imposed by Justice of the Peace Stephen Lancaster in St. Catharines court on October 11, 2016.
Source: Ontario Ministry of Labour