Metro grocery chain fined $350,000 after worker’s death

Worker fell through drop ceiling at store that wasn’t meant to hold any weight

Grocery store chain Metro must pay $350,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act that led to the death of a young worker at one of its Ontario stores.

On Aug. 7, 2009, at the company's store on Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga, Ont., a young worker was helping the assistant store manager clear materials from the top of a cooler beside the meat department. The meat department was covered by a drop ceiling made up of acoustic tiles. The drop ceiling was accessible from the top of the cooler but it was not meant to be weight-bearing.

While removing materials from the top of the cooler, the assistant store manager indicated that a box needed to be removed from on top of the drop ceiling. The young worker stepped onto the drop ceiling to remove the box and fell through. The young worker suffered a fatal head injury.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found there was no guardrail separating the drop ceiling from the area above the cooler.

Metro Ontario pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that a guardrail was in place around the cooler to prevent workers from accessing the drop ceiling.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Milagros Eustaquio-Syme of the Ontario Court of Justice in Brampton, Ont.

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