BRAMPTON, Ontario — IKO Industries Ltd. was convicted and fined $85,000 after a worker suffered critical injuries after material used to make asphalt roofing products poured out of the hopper of a machine that was believed to be empty.
In June 2016 a plant superintendent was troubleshooting a problem with a roofing mill line at IKO’s Brampton facility. The roofing mill line includes a series of pipes and hoppers that heats powdered limestone to approximately 400 degrees Fahrenheit, which is then used to make asphalt roofing products.
After determining that there was a problem with a filler dump valve, the equipment was shut down electronically using the computer system. It was then determined that the dump valve needed to be replaced. Two workers were instructed by their supervisor to remove and replace the dump valve.
As one worker was removing the flange joint that connected the exit hopper to the valve, the valve dropped open and hot limestone poured out of the hopper onto that worker, who sustained critical injuries.
At the time of the incident, it was incorrectly believed that the hopper was empty, based on interpretation of the readings from the computer system. However, this was not correct, and no other steps were taken to determine if the hopper was drained or free of harmful material prior to the removal of the flange joint.
Section 78(1)(b) of Regulation 851 – the Industrial Establishments Regulation – requires that, where repairs or alterations are to be made on a pipeline such as the roofing mill line, the pipeline shall be drained and cleaned or otherwise rendered free from any explosive, flammable or harmful substance.
IKO failed, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 78(1)(b) of the regulation were carried out in the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.