Sobeys fined $80,000 after worker injured

Forklift driver injured unloading ice cream at Toronto grocery store

An Ontario court has levied an $80,000 fine on Sobeys Capital Incorporated after a forklift driver broke his leg.

On Oct. 10, 2008, the worker was using a small forklift to unload skids of ice cream from a truck trailer parked at the loading dock of the Sobeys at 197 Front St. in Toronto.

The worker used a dock bridge — a metal plate attached to the dock floor — to span the gap between the dock and the trailer. When the worker drove the forklift across the dock bridge, it bounced and came to rest 15 centimetres above the trailer bed. The worker picked up a skid of ice cream with the forklift and, while reversing out of the trailer, his leg became jammed between the forklift and raised dock plate and was broken.

The Ministry of Labour investigated the accident, and found the dock bridge had not been installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions or properly maintained. Sobeys pleaded guilty to failing to ensure the dock bridge was maintained in good condition.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Joanna Opalinski. In addition to the fine, the court 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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