Blog Post #1142 – Worker Caught in Machinery, Company Fined $80,000 in Bracebridge Court

Blog Post #1142 – Worker Caught in Machinery, Company Fined $80,000 in Bracebridge Court

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker suffered critical injuries after being pulled into a machine while it was still in operation. The accident occurred at the Uponor Infra Ltd., a company that manufactures plastic piping, industrial facility at 37 Centre Street North, Huntsville.

The company’s manufacturing process includes feeding plastic pipes into large machines called extruders. The extruders have internal tracks that guide the pipes through the machinery while they are being formed into the required sizes.

On March 25, 2017, a worker was assigned to operate one of the extruders.  The worker did not normally perform this task.

While working on the extruder, the worker told the supervisor that the pipes inside the machine were slipping off their tracks. The supervisor instructed the worker to get under the machine while it was still in operation and clean the tracks in order to stop the pipes from slipping so the production line could continue working.

The worker complied and climbed under the machine. While cleaning one of the tracks, a sleeve got caught by a rotating drive shaft and the worker was pulled into the extruder.  A nearby worker pushed an emergency stop button and called for help.

The worker was extricated by emergency responders and remained hospitalized for several months. The investigation by the Ministry of Labour revealed that there was no guard in place to prevent access to exposed moving parts inside the extruder.

Although Uponor had policies and procedures about shutting down or locking out machinery before performing any cleaning or maintenance, it was common practice in the workplace to clean the tracks while the machinery was in operation. The supervisor confirmed that workers cleaned the extruder in the same manner three to four times during a normal shift; the supervisor had done so twice already during the same shift.

Uponor Infra Ltd. committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 75 of Ontario Regulation 851/90 were carried out at the workplace, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $80,000 by Justice of the Peace Douglas P. Conley in Bracebridge provincial court; Crown Counsel Jai Dhar.

The court also 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Uponor Infra Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ sector regulation 851/90 section 75 which states,

A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

(a) motion that may endanger a worker has stopped; and

(b) any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.

Uponor Infra Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention 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.”

Actually, section 24 of the ‘Industrial Establishments’ 851/90 could also be used and it states,

“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”

This was a no-brainer. The supervisor was honest and allowed information to be passed to the MOL that this was a regular occurrence. Mind you, this is a non-compliance of the OHSA section 27, subsection 1(a) which states,

(1) A supervisor shall ensure that a worker,

(a) works in the manner and with the protective devices, measures and procedures required by this Act and the regulations

The employer must ensure the same, Section 25, subsection 1(a) and 1(b) which states,

“(1) An employer shall ensure that,

(a) the equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided;

(b) the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”

Ensure your workplace is a safe place.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Due Diligence’,’Machine Guarding’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. Contact Deborah toll free at 1-877-907-7744 or locally at 705-749-1259.

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

 

 

 

Dan
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