Inside Logistics

Child fatality in factory results in $150,000 fine

Steel tubing fell on unsupervised child

November 14, 2018

KITCHENER, ONJ.M. Lahman Manufacturing Inc. has been fined a total of $150,000 after a child was killed by falling bundles of  steel tubing in July 2017.

A worker/supervisor for the company located in Linwood, Ontario (Township of Wellesley, northwest of Kitchener) was at the facility, accompanied by two children. One of the children was moving freely through the aisles of the facility unaccompanied.

The worker used a crane to place three bundles of steel tubing on top of a stack of similar bundles. The three bundles had been left over from the day’s work. Each bundle of tubing weighed approximately 2,140 pounds. The total weight of the stack was estimated to be 15 tons.

The stack of bundles dropped and collapsed. The stack fell onto the child who had been moving about and the child was killed instantly. The other child was far enough away as not to be harmed.

An Ontario Ministry of Labour engineer determined during the investigation that the use of softwood spacers between the bundles and the use of insufficient numbers of bands to hold the tubes together contributed to the collapse. There may have been other factors as well.

Section 66(4) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) makes any act of a supervisor the act of the employer.

The workplace is a factory as defined in the OHSA and section 4(1)(b) of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (Regulation 851) prohibits the presence of persons under the age of 15 in a factory unless accompanied by an adult.

A fine of $100,000 was imposed for permitting a person under the age of 15 to be in a factory. A fine of $50,000 was imposed for failing to ensure that bundles of steel tubing were placed and/or stored in a manner such that they could not tip, collapse and/or fall as required under section 45(b) of the regulation.

Following a guilty plea, J.M. Lahman Manufacturing Inc. was convicted and 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.