Company fined after worker critically injured by robot

by MM&D Online Staff

BRAMPTON, Ontario—Matcor Automotive Inc, a manufacturer of metal parts for the automotive industry, was convicted after a trial and given a fine of $270,000 after a worker suffered a devastating injury involving a robotic device.

On January 15, 2013 at the workplace situated at 1620 Steeles Avenue East, Brampton, Ontario a supervisor was made aware of a problem with a robot cell. The supervisor instructed a maintenance worker to fix the tooling and overheating electrode in the cell. Believing the matter could be quickly fixed, the worker entered the robot cell through the light curtain and without locking out power to the robot.

In order to reach the part of the tooling to be fixed, the worker was positioned on a railing by the conveyor belt to the left of the tooling. The worker felt pressure and saw it was the robot pressing the back of the worker’s body.

Two workers took the injured worker off the conveyor belt and onto the floor. The worker suffered serious and permanent injury.

After six days at trial, the company was found guilty and was convicted on three counts on February 10, 2016.

The court found that maintenance workers were expected to make a judgment call about how to fix the equipment: if it was a ‘quick fix,’ the practice was to not lock out/tag out, and if it was a longer fix (an hour), then lockout/tag out would occur.

The court also found that there was little effective supervision of workers.

Justice of the Peace Darlene Florence imposed the fine in Brampton court on August 17, 2016.

The company was convicted of failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to protect the health and safety of the worker with respect to working near robotic equipment and failing to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by Section 75(a) and Section 76 of the Industrial Establishments Regulation (O. Reg. 851) were carried out in the workplace.

In addition to the fine, 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.