Report by: Marcel Vander Wier for the OH&S Canada magazine
The September 25, 2019 death of a Fiera Foods worker in Toronto has sparked protests in a comprehensive review into the health and safety culture and practices of the industrial bakery.
Temporary worker Enrico Miranda, 57, died after a machine he was cleaning crushed him – the fifth worker to die at Fiera Foods and its affiliate companies since 1999.
On October 4, 2019 Fiera Foods announced it had appointed lawyer David Young, a former Atty. Gen. in Ontario, to lead the review. Young is tasked with combing over operations with a focus on identifying areas of vulnerability and potential improvements, according to a news release.
But the review is too little, too late for labour representatives were calling for swift and severe penalties on the bakery, and for the Ontario government to intervene.
“Fiera Foods must not be allowed to operate business as usual, and its owners must immediately take responsibility for this tragic death,” said Jerry Dias, National Pres. of Unifor.
On Oct. 08, 2019, the Ontario Federation of Labour issued an open letter to Premier Doug Ford, urging the implementation of section 83(4) of the Workplace Safety and Insurance Act – a clause that would make companies using temp agencies financially responsible for workplace that’s and injuries.
And on October 16, 2019, seven protesters were fined after occupying the premier’s office in Etobicoke, just up the road from the bakery.
The company is “heartbroken” by the latest turn of events, said Boris Serebryany, Pres. and CEO of Fiera Foods.
“As an employer, the well-being of every member of the team is a constant concern,” he said.
“We have always worked to create healthy, safe jobsites and always train and support all employees to a high standard – whether they be temporary or permanent.”
“We know there is more we must do and have asked Mr. Young and his team to bring a new perspective and fresh thinking to this very important matter.”
Young wants to ensure another fatality never occurs at Fiera Foods.
“My mandate is clear – what a safety lens on every operational element of the company and report back with recommendations that can help ensure a culture of safety exist throughout,” he said.
Founded in 1987, Fiera Foods produces bread products for grocery stores and fast-food restaurants across North America.
I have added a link from the Toronto Star concerning the accident during the early days, which includes other deaths at their facilities/
It is a sad day When a company like this continues to have safety violations. I guess the $300,000 fine in a previous case wasn’t enough for them to make proactive changes in their facilities.
I’m also concerned to see if there is a health and safety committee. If there is one then it is ineffective or the company regularly chooses to ignore it. The health and safety committee has a legal duty to Identify, Assess and make Recommendations to Control hazards. The final decision still stays with the company, but it should be difficult for the company ignore especially since there were so many deaths attributed to this company.
The actual job, Mr. Young is hoping to do, could have been completed by a fully trained and active health and safety committee which would include the certification of both the “Worker” rep as well as the “Management” rep.
HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including “Due Diligence”. We are, at present, have completed our JHSC proposal, final cut, to be forwarded to the Ministry of Labour (MOL).
Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259 for more information. We can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
Ensure your workplace is a safe place. (We can help you there)
Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.