Inside Logistics

Conveyor company convicted in worker death

R. J. Cyr Company Inc. of Maidstone, Ontario, pleaded guilty in the death of an employee

February 13, 2018

WINDSOR, Ontario – R. J. Cyr Company Inc. of Maidstone, Ontario, pleaded guilty in the death of a worker. R. J. Cyr is a metal fabrication company specializing in conveyors. The employee was killed in November 2016 while lifting conveyor frames with a crane and placing them on a support structure. The materials should have been clamped to the support structure before detaching the crane.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $125,000 by Justice of the Peace Angela Renaud in Windsor court; Crown Counsel Wes Wilson. 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.

The worker was assigned to do touch-up work on a “conveyor skid”. The skid was essentially the steel frame or base for a conveyor; it was 33.5 inches wide and 22 feet, 9 inches long, weighing 1,228 pounds.

The worker used an overhead five-ton crane to lift one skid from a pile, and placed it on its side on a support structure. A second skid was similarly positioned. The overhead crane was then detached from the skids. The skids were not clamped to the support structure or otherwise secured when the crane was detached.

As the worker was securing one of the skids to the support structure with clamps, it tipped toward the worker, knocking the worker backward and pinning the employee to the concrete floor.

The worker was killed in the incident. There was no witness, but it was captured on a security surveillance video.

The Ministry of Labour investigation found no evidence that the worker had been instructed not to disconnect the conveyor skid from the overhead crane until the skid was secured to the support structure.

The company failed as an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 46 of of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) wee carried out at a workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act. That section of the regulation states that “machinery, equipment or material that may tip or fall and endanger any worker shall be secured against tipping or falling.”