Beer Store president toughens safety rules after worker death

The death last year of a Beer Store worker from methanol poisoning prompted president Ted Moroz to order “a complete sweep of our corporation” and improve the alcohol retailer’s health and safety practices.

Mississauga-based Brewers Retail, The Beer Store’s parent, ordered additional safety rules and audited its warehouses and retail stores to make sure such a death never happens again.

The company was recently fined $175,000 for violating the Occupational Health and Safety Act in the 2012 incident, when a worker cleaning trucks at a Brampton warehouse drank windshield washer fluid that was in a bottle with an alcohol label on it.

“When we found out this had occurred, we did a complete sweep of our corporation to ensure there were no other opportunities for this unfortunate event to occur again,”  Moroz told YourMississaugaBiz.com.

The company hired third-party company Workplace Safety and Prevention Services to do audits similar to the Workplace Safety and Insurance Board’s Workwell audits.

“We did those at all of our distribution centers in Ontario and did them at a very significant sampling of our retail stores,” he said.

Moroz said the audits were done with a goal of ensuring that such a death never occurs again and to further improve the company’s health and safety standards.

“We were very pleased that our record was improving so well,” he said. “But since this event occurred, we’re doing more.”

Additional measures includes hiring another health and safety manager at its Mississauga head office on Explorer Drive, more time for them in the field, and more training and development days for all employees.

Moroz, who has worked at the company since he was 18, said he wasn’t aware of another incident like this happening before.

Established in 1927, Brewers Retail’s employs 150 people at its Mississauga headquarters and 6,500 people across its Ontario stores and beer warehouses.

The company is jointly owned by Labatt Breweries and Molson Coors, and a small stake held by Sleeman Breweries.

In the occupational health case, Brewers Retail pleaded guilty to failing to acquaint a worker with a hazard in the handling, storage or use of a liquid chemical agent.

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