Sport Systems Unlimited Corporation Fined $70,000 After Delivery Worker Struck, Injured

WATERLOO, ON – Sport Systems Unlimited Corporation has been fined $70,000 after a worker delivering metal tubing was struck and injured by the materials being unloaded from the worker’s delivery truck.

On July 26, 2012, the worker, who was employed by a trucking company, was at Sport Systems’ facility at 554 Parkside Drive in Waterloo to deliver bundles of metal tubing. Sport Systems designs, manufactures and installs dasher board systems used for ice and inline hockey, indoor soccer and other sports and recreational activities, and also makes hockey nets.

The metal tubing was bundled and the bundles were stacked to a height of about nine feet off the flatbed of the truck. The bundles were collectively secured to the flatbed truck by a series of straps and it was the truck driver’s responsibility to loosen and remove the appropriate straps to allow the bundles to be unloaded by a forklift operator, who in this case was an employee of Sport Systems.

The forklift operator was removing bundles when some bundles fell over; one bundle, weighing about 760 kilos (1,700 pounds) landed on the ground, striking and pinning the truck driver who had been standing on the ground. The injured worker was taken to hospital with injuries that included a significant number of broken bones.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the company did not have a procedure or safe practice to address where a truck driver was to remain during the unloading process or how to deal with unloading damaged or improperly secured product. No workers, including the forklift operators, had received information, instruction or supervision to ensure items could be safely moved and unloaded from flatbed trucks without endangering the safety of a worker, as required by law.

Sport Systems Unlimited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the load on the truck was transported, placed or stored so that the bundles would not tip, collapse or fall and could be removed without endangering the safety of a worker, as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act and the Industrial Establishments Regulation.

The company also pleaded guilty to failing to provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker on how to safety unload/move items from a flatbed truck without endangering the safety of a worker and was fined $70,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace William S. Ross in Kitchener court December 17, 2014.

In addition to the fine, the court imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act. The surcharge is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.