Canadian Occupational Safety

September/October 2020

Canadian Occupational Safety (COS) magazine is the premier workplace health and safety publication in Canada. We cover a wide range of topics ranging from office to heavy industry, and from general safety management to specific workplace hazards.

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Page 8 of 51 9 LAFARGE FIRES EMPLOYEE FOR DISCRIMINATORY ACT ON June 12, Lafarge truck driver Allonde Junior Georges found a noose hanging where he habitually parked his truck. Georges, who is of Haitian descent, told his employers about it on June 29. Speaking with Montreal- based French language news outlet La Presse, Georges said that, when he told his employers, the incident was trivialized and treated like a bad joke. "I was told to not worry about it, keep it for myself even. I never got any follow-up," Georges told La Presse. Nevertheless, Lafarge released a statement on July 8 recognizing that an act of discrimination involving a symbol of hatred took place in one of its workplaces in Montreal. The construction materials company states that, following an investigation, the employee responsible for the discriminatory act was fired. "This corrective measure serves as a testament to Lafarge Canada's position in regard to discrimination of all types and our zero tolerance policy when it comes to such matters," according to the company. It seems, however, that this type of incident has not happened only in Quebec. Indeed, this news follows disturbing reports of similar incidents that have occurred in Ontario. In June, nooses were found on three separate construction sites in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA). On June 10, two Black construction workers found two nooses at the Michael Garron Hospital construction site in East York run by EllisDon, reports Ontario Construction News. On June 25, a noose was discovered at a worksite on 81 Bay Street in downtown Toronto. The site is jointly run by EllisDon and Govan Brown. On June 26, a noose was found on a construction site at Dundas Street East and Sumach Street in Toronto. The company running the site, The Daniels Corporation, has filed a report with Toronto police. These acts are being treated as hate crimes. Geoff Smith, CEO of EllisDon, said in a statement: "This is a disgraceful act by someone weak and cowardly. We will do everything possible to identify, prosecute and evict anyone involved from our industry. The perpetrator has acted in a way to try and achieve notoriety and even influence by sowing division and hatred. We will never allow that to happen." "We are disgusted and horrified at this heinous act, which we are treating as a hate crime. We have taken immediate action and filed a report with [the] Toronto Police Serviceā€¦ We have also launched our own internal investigation with independent third-party experts who specialize in health and safety in the workplace to treat this with the severity it warrants," said Mitchell Cohen, president of The Daniels Corporation, in a statement. Nooses are understood to be a symbol of hatred, a reminder of the lynchings of Black people in the United States. Racially motivated lynchings took place mainly in southern states, both before and after slavery was abolished in the U.S. and continued into the 20th century. According to statistics shared by civil rights organization NAACP, 3,446 Black people were lynched between 1882 and 1968. Food manufacturing facility fined $97,847 for worker injury Following a planned restart of a smelter, Punjab Milk Foods Inc. (PMF), one of the largest suppliers of Indian dairy products in North America, was fined $97,847.29 following a worker injury at its facility in Surrey, B.C. The firm was fined following an investigation by WorkSafeBC at its Surrey manufacturing facility. The investigation was the result of an incident that resulted in one of the company's workers sustaining serious injuries. The incident occurred while the worker was removing excess product from a machine. The worker's hand was caught in a rotating piece of the machine, and the worker subsequently incurred serious injuries. "This corrective measure serves as a testament to Lafarge Canada's position in regard to discrimination of all types and our zero tolerance policy when it comes to such matters." Lafarge spokesperson Weyerhaeuser Company fined $130,000 after guilty plea Weyerhaeuser Company was fined after pleading guilty to one count under the Occupational Health and Safety Regulations, 1996. The charge stems from an incident where a worker sustained a serious injury after being impacted by a forklift. The company pleaded guilty to contravening clause 12(a): "being an employer, fail in the provision and maintenance of a plant, systems of work and working environments that ensure, as far as reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of the employer's workers, resulting in the injury of a worker." The company was fined $130,000 with a $52,000 surcharge. Pressure pumping services company to pay $315,000 Element Technical Services Inc. was convicted as a result of a workplace fatality that occurred on Aug. 3, 2017, in Veteran, Alta. On the date of the incident, a worker was completing a pressure test on the coil tube connector on-site. The worker, positioned over the well head, inadvertently contacted the test pipe in their face and subsequently sustained fatal injuries. They were fined $5,000, which includes a 15-per-cent victim fine surcharge. The company was additionally ordered to pay an extra $310,000 in favour of the Energy Safety Canada for a pressure hazards awareness program.

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