An Ontario freight company fined $85,000 after a forklift incident

Court imposes a fine of $85,000 on Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. after a forklift incident at the workplace. A worker suffered permanent injuries in the incident, which took place at Woodbridge in Ontario on Feb 12, 2016. The court convicted the company on Dec 15, 2017.

Background of the forklift incident

Using a forklift, a worker was loading drums into a vehicle at a loading bay. After completing the loading of one skid, the worker went to pick up the second. However, while operating the forklift in the forward direction, the operator noticed obstruction to his view. This was due to the stacking of load in the front.

Moreover, after picking up the second load, the forklift operator while driving forward, struck another forklift operator. The worker was standing and completing some paperwork. The forklift struck him  from behind leading to a permanent injury. MOL through its incident investigation determined that the forklift operator was operating the forklift with an obstructed view.

What was the offence?

  • Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. failed as an employer to ensure that it took adequate measures and procedures prescribed by section 56 of Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.
  • Section 56 of the regulation required a signaler to assist the forklift operator in case the operator’s full view of the intended path of travel was obstructed. (Source: MOL Court Bulletin)

How can online systems help?

Online health and safety management systems such as 4SafeComTM are an effective way for performing spot inspections and tracking follow-up actions. This would be beneficial in case of events such as the forklift incident at Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. The following are some of the benefits of having an online system:

Conducting and tracking spot inspections

An online system makes it easier for supervisors to conduct spot inspections to identify hazardous acts and conditions. Moreover, an online system helps track spot inspections and other workplace inspections much more efficiently. An employer can get various types of inspection forms configured in an online system. Supervisors can access this with any mobile device with an Internet browser.

An online system could have helped Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. to conduct spot inspections to check if the forklift operators are following all the regulatory requirements. Moreover, Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. could have asked all the concerned parties to review the company’s forklift policies while gaining their acknowledgement. Thus, an online system would have been a good platform for communication of policies to its employees and for capturing their acknowledgements.

An online system would have helped the employer make everyone more accountable since they would have reviewed and acknowledged the company’s policies. Further, Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. could have used an online system for conducting forklift refresher training and many other mandatory as well as awareness trainings.

Tracking disciplinary actions, incident investigation, and follow-up actions required and taken 

An online system would have helped Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. in tracking any disciplinary actions taken on a worker. This would be useful in case of events such as the forklift incident mentioned above. Moreover, an online system helps track the follow-up actions required based on incident investigation report. This is one of the major advantages of having an online system. Using an online system, Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. can analyze workplace incidents in more detail, which will help in reducing future occurrences. Therefore, using an online system, all the relevant parties at Consolidated Fastfrate Inc. could have tracked the follow-up actions required. Moreover, they could simultaneously evaluate the actions taken by the company.

An online system provides a company with the following major benefits, which will help in preventing or recurring of incidents:

  • There would be procedure in place, which will be acknowledged through the online system
  • It will help a company in tracking the training records of its employees
  • Employers can conduct safety talks on the importance of having a signaler and when the company needs one, which will be clearly documented through the online system with signatures
  • An online system helps in tracking disciplinary actions for not following procedures through a proper procedure laid down in the system
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