Blog Post #760 – Sun-Brite Foods Inc. Fined $70,000 after Worker Injured

Blog Post #760 – Sun-Brite Foods Inc. Fined $70,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Sun-Brite Foods Inc., a company that processes and cans field crops, has pleaded guilty and has been fined $70,000 after a seasonal farm worker was critically injured.

On September 5, 2013, the seasonal farm worker, who was from Mexico, was engaged in cleaning the peeler room of the company’s food processing facility at 1532 County Road 34 near Ruthven. The room contains tomato-peeling machines, each with a waste chute connected to a trough. A power screw auger pushes waste material through the trough.

The worker was cleaning the area around one of the machines and attempted to step over the waste trough; a foot slipped into the trough and became caught in the auger. The worker suffered serious injuries to the foot, which had to be partially amputated.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the peeler machine involved in the incident had been installed just two weeks prior. While steel mesh guards were affixed over the waste troughs of the other three machines, no guard had yet been installed on the newest machine; as such, the auger was fully exposed.

The company pleaded guilty was fined $70,000 by Justice of the Peace Salma Jafar in Provincial Offences Court in Windsor on February 9, 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.

My opinion

The law(s) in contravention:

Sun-Brite Foods Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section of section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 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.”

Sun-Brite Foods Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (c) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(c) the measures and procedures prescribed are carried out in the workplace.”

I could not believe a machine was put into service without all of the appropriate machine guards put in place! How could a company as large as Sun-Brite Foods Inc. make such a mistake? Unbelievable!

I was also surprised that section 25 instead of section 24 was used as the section of choice. Section 24 of the ‘Industrial’ sector regulation 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.”

Please ensure when a new machine is to be introduced to your workplace have all the appropriate guards put in place and have the operators, supervisors and maintenance personnel trained it their usage. ‘Due Diligence’ demands all personnel are trained and all hazards identified, assessed and controlled before any work is to be done.

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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