Recent court convictions remind us of the importance of ensuring workers are protected from vehicular traffic in the workplace.
On June 21, 2019 K-G Spray-Pak Inc. was convicted following a guilty plea and fined $60,000 when a worker was injured after being struck by a moving lift truck being operated in reverse.
On June 14, 2019 Accuristix Inc. was convicted following guilty pleas and fined $125,000 after a worker was fatally injured when struck by a truck at a loading dock.
In both cases employers failed to meet Section 20 of Ontario Regulation 851 (the Industrial Establishments Regulation) which states that barriers, warning signs or other safeguards for the protection of all workers in an area shall be used where vehicle or pedestrian traffic may endanger the safety of any worker.
· Workers/pedestrians must effectively communicate with operators, make eye contact and acknowledge each other
· NEVER walk behind any vehicle that is reversing or enter into blind spots
· While backing up operators must use extra care and sound the horn to clear the area (or use back up alarm where applicable)
· Do not reverse if the path of travel is obstructed
· While operating a vehicle, honk the horn whenever a change of direction occurs or when entering a new area that is not completely visible. Honking the horn informs other workers that you are moving and entering their area
· Always use a signaller when necessary
· Wear high-visibility clothing as required
An employer must ensure that barriers, warning signs or other safeguards are being used effectively where vehicle traffic may endanger the safety of a worker. It is important to ensure that safe work procedures are established and communicated in the workplace. Also, employers must ensure that all operators are adequately trained on the equipment they are operating and that workers in the area are aware of vehicular hazards and how to stay safe.