Blog Post #1188 – Mushroom Farm Injury Results in $75,000 Fine in Leamington

Blog Post #1188 – Mushroom Farm Injury Results in $75,000 Fine in Leamington

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker was injured after becoming caught in a moving cable and suffered a critical injury at the Highline Produce Limited company’s principal facility at 506 Mersea Road 5, Leamington, Ontario.

On May 15, 2018, workers were conducting “filling operations” in a mushroom “grow room.” This task involves using a hydraulic winch to pull netting along the mushroom grow beds, filling the beds with compost as it does so. These winches are called “net winch pullers.”

One worker was operating the net winch puller on Row #3 by guiding the two hydraulic winch cables connected to the netting into the winch.

While guiding the cables into the winch, the worker was caught by one of the cables as it wrapped around the roller of the winch assembly. The worker was entangled and pulled into the winch assembly which formed a pinch point. The worker suffered a critical injury as a result.

A Ministry of Labour investigation determined that the hydraulic net winch puller on Row #3 in that grow room was not equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to the pinch point.

Highline failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the hydraulic net winch puller on Row #3 in that grow room was equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevented access to the pinch point, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the act. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.

Following a guilty plea, Highline Produce Limited was fined $75,000 in Leamington provincial court by Justice of the Peace Susan Hoffman; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.

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:

Highline Produce Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 25, subsection 2(h) which states,

“An employer shall,

(h)  take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Highline Produce Ltd. would have been classed as a farm which is covered by the Ontario regulation 414. If this facility was classed as an ‘Industrial Establishment’ then they would have been guilty of a contravention of section 24 of ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which 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 type of hazard is becoming more common in the ‘Industrial’ sector and needs to be cleaned up. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the Ministry of Labour (MOL) had a blitz planned for this particular sector in January and February.

I wonder how they made out.

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

We can also be reached at info@hrsgroup.com

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.

 

 

 

 

Dan
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