By Jim Wilson

25 Jan. 2024 via Canadian Occupational Safety

Ontario employer OJB Industries Inc. has been fined $120,000 after a workplace fatality.

Following a guilty plea, the employer must also pay a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act, to be credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

A worker was fatally injured due to carbon monoxide exposure following a fire in an oil‐lubricated air compressor.

The incident took place on May 2, 2022, when a worker was sandblasting a metal turret in the abrasive blast room of the Company’s Breen Drive facility.

At the time the worker was wearing a NOVA 2000 respirator/helmet, gloves and coveralls. The respirator was supplied air from an oil‐lubricated compressor located in a storage container at the back of the building.

Workers noticed that the sound of sandblasting stopped and then discovered the oil‐lubricated compressor was on fire. Several workers then went to get fire extinguishers to put the fire out.

One worker entered the abrasive blast room to retrieve a water hose to try to extinguish the fire. That worker found in there another worker who had been performing the sandblasting. The second worker was unresponsive on the ground with a respirator/helmet still on but disconnected from the air supply line.

Emergency Medical Services attended the scene and pronounced the worker dead.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Training and Skills Development found that the immediate cause of death was carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to their findings, at the time of the incident, the oil‐lubricated compressed air line did not have an in‐line continuous carbon monoxide monitor with audible and visual alarms that activate at 5 parts per million.

Also, the RPB Nova 2000 respirator/helmet that the worker was wearing does not purify air or filter contaminants, and that a carbon monoxide monitor must be used.

“The Company therefore failed to ensure the compressed breathing air system was equipped with a continuous carbon monoxide monitor and properly calibrated, and so endangered the life of the worker,” said the Ontario government.