Canadian courts issue fines over forklift accidents

News Story
- 11 Jan 2024 ( #1161 ) - St. Thomas, ON, Canada
2 min read
Two Provincial Offences Court in Ontario handed down forklift-related fines
Two Provincial Offences Court in Ontario handed down forklift-related fines

Two Canadian companies have been fined over separate forklift accidents that left two Ontario workers critically injured.

In the first case, Geerlinks Building Centre and Furniture Limited was fined CAD70,000 (USD52,290) over an accident in October 2022.

The Provincial Offences Court in St. Thomas, Ontario heard two workers were asked to move some returned lumber, a task they had previously done by hand.

However, on this occasion, one worker used a forklift to carry the lumber while being assisted by the other worker, who was walking alongside the forklift.

The forklift struck the walking worker, who sustained critical injuries.

At the time of the incident, neither worker was certified to operate the forklift, nor had they completed forklift pedestrian safety training.  

Justice of the Peace Anna Hampson found Geerlinks Building Centre and Furniture Limited was in breach of Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act for failing to ensure its employees were provided information, instruction and supervision regarding the operation of forklifts at a workplace.

The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge to be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

In the second case, Nova Cold Logistics was fined CAD65,000 (USD48,550) by the Provincial Offences Court in London, Ontario by Justice of the Peace Kristine Diaz.

The court heard a forklift driver was critically injured by a high-speed automatic roll-down door in November 2022.

The driver had been asked to move pallets of products from a loading dock to a freezer room. The freezer room had an automatic door with a sensor that was supposed to reverse if it met any resistance.

However, the sensor was not working properly at the time of the incident and when the door struck the forklift driver, it did not stop or reverse, causing critical injuries.

Nova Cold Logistics pleaded guilty to breaching Canada’s Occupational Health and Safety Act by failing to ensure the door sensor was maintained in good condition.

As well as the CAD65,000 fine, the court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge.

Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, a company was fined for breaching work at height regulations at a dock in Ramsgate Harbour in the country’s south-east.

The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) prosecuted European Active Projects (EAP) Limited after onlookers reported an employee working from height while standing on a pallet raised by a forklift.

The worker was part of a team of three at EAP Limited who were removing equipment from the deck of a boat in the harbour’s slipway.

As scaffolding had been removed, the workers raised a pallet to the deck with a forklift truck and used it as a mobile platform to remove items from the boat.

The HSE investigation found EAP Limited had failed to plan the work at height associated with the refurbishments and repair work being completed on the boat, leaving workers at risk, with no safe method for removing equipment located on the vessel’s deck.

EAP was fined GBP100,000 (USD127,160) and ordered to pay GBP5,730.40 (USD7,287) in costs by Maidstone Magistrates’ Court.

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