Canada: Ontario greenhouse operation fined $23K after worker falls

A Simcoe greenhouse operation has been fined $23,000 after one of its workers fell from a forklift that had elevated him so he could hang plants, the Ontario Ministry of Labour says. The worker broke both wrists in the fall and required surgery and rehabilitative physiotherapy, the ministry said in an e-mail to the Reformer.

The employee was actually standing in a wooden apple crate on the forklift at a height of about seven or eight feet when he fell Wed., May 4, 2011, the ministry said,

"When the elevated worker moved to the right side of the crate during his work task, the crate became unbalanced and fell off of the forks," the e-mail said.

Nanticoke Greenhouses Ltd. pleaded guilty in a Simcoe court on Sept. 19 to failing to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances to protect the health and safety of a worker, the ministry said.

The court also imposed a 25% victim fine surcharge on the Highway 24 business. It is credited to a special provincial government fund to assist victims of crime.

A ministry of Labour Investigation found there was a suspended work platform available for use in the greenhouse at the time, but it was "routine habit" for workers to instead use the forklift and wooden apple crate.

The investigation also found the injured worker was not wearing any kind of fall prevention equipment and that the crate was not secured to the forklift.


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