A car dealership in Kirkland Lake, Ont. has been fined $45,000 for failing to protect the health and safety of its workers, after a vehicle fell off a lift, injuring two service technicians.
Lake Shore Motors must also pay a further $11,250 to a special government fund set up to assist victims of crime.
Justice of the Peace Theodore A. Hodgins in Kirkland Lake ruled on June 18 that the company failed to provide information, instruction and supervision on the safe operation and inspection of an automotive hoist.
The incident occurred on Feb. 21, 2017 when the two workers were using a hoist to raise a vehicle requiring repair.
The 10,000-lb capacity two-post lift was equipped with arm restraint gears designed to lock the swing arms in place. An investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that at least one of the four arms on the hoist had swung out of place, causing the entire vehicle to slip off the restraint arms and fall.
Both workers, who were standing underneath the vehicle at the time of the accident, suffered critical injuries.
An examination of the arm restraints revealed that the gears that were supposed to lock the arms in place were not functioning properly. The teeth on the gears were worn, rusted and in poor condition and the metal bars that hold the restraints together were bent.
Ministry of Labour inspectors found that one of the swing arms moved easily out of the set position when pushed by hand, a second swing arm moved out of position when forcibly pushed by hand, and a third swing arm moved out of the set position when forcibly pushed by two inspectors. A Ministry of Labour engineer concluded that the restraint devices had not functioned properly for an extended period of time.
Pads on the swing arms were found to be worn and in poor condition.
Several of the other hoists in the shop were in similarly poor condition. A privately retained hoist inspector concluded that the hoists showed years of wear. A number of items were identified that needed to be addressed in each hoist. Four of the hoists failed their examinations.
A company had previously been hired by Lake Shore Motors to inspect all hoists at the workplace. That company performed the inspections, which were primarily visual and lasted approximately 15 minutes per hoist. The company indicated that there were no defects in the hoists and that they were fit to use.
Neither the inspecting company nor its owner were certified by the Automotive Lift Institute as lift inspectors. (This certification is not required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act in Ontario.
The equipment manual for the hoist states that all moving parts and telescopic arms should be inspected daily for evidence of uneven or excessive wear. Furthermore, arm restraints are to be inspected and lubricated every two months.
Investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed no such inspections had taken place on any of the hoists and that such inspections, if done properly, would have uncovered the defects.
Lake Shore Motors had not provided the workers with any information or instruction on inspection requirements and had not trained or instructed the workers on how to inspect the hoists. As a result, there was no regular maintenance routine in place for the hoists.
The company’s joint health and safety committee had not performed any monthly inspections in the months leading up to the incident.
Lake Shore Motors Ltd., which sells and services both new and used cars, trucks, and SUVs, is located at 1155 Government Road West in Kirkland Lake.