Home Workplace News McDougall Energy fined $70,000 after workplace injury in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

McDougall Energy fined $70,000 after workplace injury in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont.

by HR Law Canada

An energy distribution company in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont., has been fined $70,000 after a worker was injured in a workplace accident.

McDougall Energy Inc., operating as Dowler-Karn, received the fine following a guilty plea in the Ontario Court of Justice, St. Thomas, after failing to implement safety measures that led to a worker falling into a vehicle service pit.

The incident occurred on February 17, 2023, at Dowler-Karn’s service shop in St. Thomas, Ont. A truck driver, who had been dispatched from the company’s Sarnia branch, experienced mechanical issues with their vehicle due to ice build-up on the brakes.

After a temporary fix by a mobile technician, the truck was driven to the service shop for further repairs. While assisting with these repairs, the driver accidentally fell into an in-ground vehicle service pit that lacked proper barricades or monitoring.

Justice of the Peace Susan Whelan imposed the fine, and Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan represented the prosecution. In addition to the $70,000 fine, a 25 percent victim fine surcharge was levied, contributing to a provincial fund supporting crime victims.

The court heard that the service shop, which contains multiple work bays, has a 70-foot-long, 42-inch-wide, and 64-inch-deep service pit in bay three. The pit was not in use at the time of the incident and lacked safety barriers. The truck driver was checking on repair progress and, while assisting a senior technician, stepped backward and fell into the pit, resulting in multiple injuries.

The Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development highlighted that McDougall Energy Inc. did not comply with section 13(3) of the Regulation for Industrial Establishments, which mandates safety measures to protect workers, violating section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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