Worker injury at Oakville car dealership results in $60,000 fine

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Published May 17, 2024 at 3:23 pm

oakville toyota fined

An Oakville car dealership has been fined $60,000 after pleading guilty to violations of provincial policy.

According to the facts of the case presented at the Ontario Court of Justice in Burlington, a worker at Oakville Toyota, at 2375 Wyecroft Rd., suffered injuries while performing a diagnostic assessment of a wheel bearing on a truck in 2022.

On Feb. 5, 2022, a Toyota truck was on a lift in the service centre of the dealership while being assessed for a defective or damaged wheel bearing.

A journeyperson automotive technician, who was assigned to troubleshoot, was aided by two apprentices.

The journeyperson stationed the first apprentice in the cab of the elevated truck to operate it, contrary to the lift manufacturer’s operating manual and safety documents from the Automotive Lift Institute. The second apprentice was beneath the vehicle observing the journeyperson.

Both the journeyperson and the second apprentice had long hair tied back in a ponytail, which was allowed by the company’s safety procedures. Due to their height, they had to bend down to work beneath the elevated vehicle.

To proceed with the diagnostic testing, the first apprentice started the engine, put the vehicle in gear and accelerated to 60 kilometers per hour. This engaged several moving parts of the vehicle.

When the second apprentice bent over under the vehicle then stepped back to observe the diagnostic process, their hair was drawn into the rotating drive shaft. Consequently, they sustained several injuries.

An investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Immigration and Training and Skills Development determined the company did not have a safe procedure for diagnosing problems with wheel bearings which would have prohibited workers from working underneath a vehicle while it was being operated.

As a result, the employer failed to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the worker, contrary to the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

The court also 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.

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