Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
Dare Foods Limited, a maker of cookies, crackers and other foods, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $60,000 after a worker was injured while cleaning a roller on a conveyor.
On August 18, 2014, at the company’s manufacturing operation at 2481 Kingsway Drive in Kitchener, a sanitation worker was cleaning the roller of a tower stacking table. To clean the roller, sanitation workers are instructed to shut the conveyor off at the control box located at the end of the table. The part of the roller that is facing out is cleaned by sanitation workers using a paper towel-like cloth. Then the worker is required to walk back to the control box (a distance of about eight metres) to turn the conveyor on briefly to advance it a short distance, turn the conveyor off again and walk back to the end of the conveyor to clean the newly-exposed section of roller, repeating the process.
At the time of the incident, the worker was cleaning the middle roller of the tower stacking table. After the roller had been cleaned, the worker noticed one spot that hadn’t been cleaned and wanted to get to that spot while the conveyor was still running. Holding on to the cleaning cloth, the worker began to clean the rotating roller when the cloth and the worker’s hand were pulled into the in-running nip hazard between the roller and the belt, causing injuries.
Accordingly, Dare Foods Limited failed as an employer to comply with its duties under section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act, which requires an employer to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by law are carried out in the workplace.
The company pleaded guilty and was fined $60,000 by Justice of the Peace Michael A. Cuthbertson in Kitchener court on December 4, 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,
Dare Foods Limited 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.”
Dare Foods Limited was also found guilty of a violation of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1 (c) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”
Where was the written procedures for this maintenance operation? Where was the supervisor in all this? Why was the machinery not locked and tagged out before the maintenance was to begin?
All of these questions should have been asked and answered prior to any work is to be done. The Ministry of Labour (MOL) expects ‘Due Diligence’ and that includes hazard assessments, procedures to recognize and control hazards listed in the hazard assessment process and take every reasonable precaution to protect the worker.
‘Common sense’, correct? Well, not as common as one may think!
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.