Inside Logistics

Miska Trailers fined after worker dies

Employee fatally injured after coming into contact with power lines

January 29, 2021

After a worker was electrocuted on the job, Miska Trailer Factory was fined $150,000 in Ontario Court of Justice in Hamilton. Miska makes trailers and truck bodies for various transport uses.

On March 21, 2019, a worker employed by Miska was tasked by a supervisor with modifying some new flags attached to aluminum poles and then mounting the aluminum poles atop stationary flagpoles located along a fence in the factory’s parking lot.

The worker drove a forklift with a scissor lift on its forks to the work area in the parking lot, then got on the scissor lift with an aluminum pole with a flag attached. The worker raised the lift to reach the top of the flagpole.

As the aluminum pole was lifted into position, it made contact with the 16,000-volt live overhead power lines above the flag pole, electrocuting the worker.

Co-workers lowered the scissor lift and the worker was transported to hospital in critical condition. The worker died from the injuries.

An investigation of the incident by the Ontario Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found Miska did not take steps to prevent encroachment by the existing flagpole and new flag installation upon the 3-metre (10-foot) minimum distance set from live power lines.

Miska committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The company was convicted after pleading guilty. The court also 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.