Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A Hamilton grocery store has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker was critically injured while operating a meat grinding machine.
On August 15, 2013, a worker at the company’s premises located at 2 King Street West in Hamilton was instructed by a supervisor to grind chicken using a meat mincing/grinding machine. The table-top machine is operated by feeding pieces of meat into a small hole or inlet that leads into a shaft, then to an auger. The auger grinds the meat and pushes the ground meat out of the front of the grinder.
The grinder comes equipped with a barrier guard that fits above the inlet. It is installed by screws and when in use, the guard prevents a user’s fingers from entering into the inlet area. A plunger is used to push the meat through the guard and into the auger area.
At the time of the incident, the guard that is attached to the feed tray to prevent access to the inlet and shaft of the grinder was not in place. The worker began feeding the meat directly into the inlet area by hand. The worker made contact with the moving auger resulting in a critical injury.
A Ministry of Labour investigation revealed that the guard that would have prevented contact with the auger had been missing from the grinder for an unknown period of time before the incident. The store began operating at the start of July 2013.
Further, the manufacturer’s operating instructions for the grinder specifically warned against using the grinder without the safety devices installed around the inlet area.
The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Ivana Baldelli at the provincial Offences Court in Hamilton court on September 1, 2015.
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.
The law(s) violated,
Nations Fresh Foods was found guilty of a violation of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90, section 25 which states,
“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”
Nations Fresh Foods was also found guilty of a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25(1)(c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
How many times have I written about Machine Guarding? 20, 50 100? I would wager that I am close to the 80 level for sure. If not, then I am pretty close.
Can you imagine a home owner, equipped with a table saw, removing the blade guard at all or for a lengthy time? No, of course not! Then why did Nations Fresh Foods think it was alright to do so?
Safety has to be the overriding priority in any workplace. Here we have another employer that forgot that point. Someone there didn’t read the memo.
If a machine has engineered guarding in place then it must remain there when in use and repaired or replaced if it gets damaged.
Always follow the guidelines set out in the machine manual and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations to the letter. Who knows their equipment better than the manufacturer?
Ensure your workplace is a safe place.
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.