Hydraulic Press Accident: $140k Fine

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National Steel Car Limited, a Hamilton designer and manufacturer of railroad freight cars, has been fined $140,000 after pleading guilty to failing as an employer to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health and safety of the worker, under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

A worker received a permanent injury while operating a hydraulic press machine at the plant, just before Christmas 2011.

The Ministry of Labour investigation found that a worker was helping a press operator on a hydraulic press when he noticed a loose machine component behind the machine’s punch line. The helper thought the operator had stopped the press. He reached under the punch line and the operator activated the machine; it pinched the helper’s arm in the press and caused a permanent injury.

A safety feature on the press, designed to prevent such an accident, was found to have been adjusted improperly. Neither worked involved in the incident had been trained on how to operate the press. They were not provided with specific instructions relating to the press, were not made aware of a second control pedestal and were not made aware of the need to verify and adjust the position of the light beam before commencing the work.

Justice of the Peace Jerry Woloschuk imposed the fine April 24, in Ontario Court of Justice, Hamilton.

A 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge is added to the fine, under the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge goes toward a provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

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