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Orangeville paving firm convicted after worker injured in asphalt fire incident

DCN News Services
Orangeville paving firm convicted after worker injured in asphalt fire incident

ST. CATHARINES, ONT. — An Orangeville, Ont. paving firm has been fined following an incident in which a worker was injured by a flash fire emanating from a hot paving tanker.

Roto-Mill Inc., a company specializing in asphalt road reclamation and recycling, asphalt milling and concrete scarifying, was fined June 22 for its role in a mishap that occurred June 23, 2016, said a media statement.

The Ministry of Labour indicated the incident occurred in the parking lot of a race track located in Port Colborne, Ont. Roto-Mill was working on a repaving construction project on Highway 3 in the city. The job required using asphalt that is heated to remain in a liquid state. Workers had been instructed to reach an operating temperature of 320 degrees F. and stop the reheating process; they had also been directed to monitor and heat the unit without exceeding 380 degrees. A previous procedure had instructed workers to heat the unit without exceeding 500 degrees.

A worker arrived at the race track parking lot and, working alone, started to re-heat asphalt cement in a Roto-Mill tanker truck. The temperatures were allowed to rise, unmonitored, to approximately 500 degrees.

Another worker was called over to provide assistance and the re-heater was allowed to cool down to lower temperatures. A pump was activated to start drawing the asphalt cement and then shut off.

The first worker climbed onto the top of the tanker truck wearing protective equipment for protection from hot asphalt cement.

A single flash fire came from the unit’s discharge pipe near the tanker truck’s hatch and struck the worker. Emergency services were called to the site and the worker was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.

The ministry investigated and a report prepared by a ministry engineer concluded the re-heater was overheated, which resulted in flammable vapours, hazardous gases and the flash fire.

The release explained the defendant failed to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, by failing to ensure the re-heater was not operated at temperatures that can produce flammable vapours and hazardous gases.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $60,000 in a St. Catharines court. The court also imposed a 25-per-cent victim fine surcharge as required by the Provincial Offences Act.

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