Blog Post #938 – Injury at Vegetable Processing Facility Results in $80,000 Fine

Blog Post #938 – Injury at Vegetable Processing Facility Results in $80,000 Fine

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Bonduelle Canada Inc., which owns and operates a vegetable processing facility in southwestern Ontario, pleaded guilty and was fined $80,000 after a worker was critically injured while cleaning a conveyor belt.

The facility, located at 1192 Lacasse Boulevard in Tecumseh, is considered an industrial establishment. On November 10, 2015, a worker employed as a sanitation cleaner was cleaning a dewatering tank and conveyor. This task required rinsing the equipment with water, scrubbing the equipment, application of a foam cleaner and rinsing again.  The standard operating procedures on which all sanitation employees were trained required the conveyor belt to be on and moving when spraying and rinsing was being done; however, the same procedure also required the lock-out of the conveyor belts when it was necessary for the worker to scrub anywhere near the conveyor belt.  At the time of the incident, the worker had not locked out the conveyor belts.

While scrubbing the conveyor, the worker’s arm was pulled into the running conveyor belt after being caught in the pinch point created by the belt and housing. A co-worker stopped the machine and the conveyor belt was immediately dismantled to release the worker, who suffered injuries. The machine was not equipped with a guard, which would prevent access to the pinch point in question.

The company was fined $80,000 by Justice of the Peace Calvin Hurst in Windsor court on November 14, 2016.

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:

Bonduelle Canada Inc. was found guilty of a contravention 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.”

Bonduelle Canada Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act, section 25, subsection 1(c) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

It is funny that there are procedures to deal with a machine guard and to LOCKOUT the equipment if there is a chance to come into contact BUT the lockout procedure should have been part of all aspects of maintenance when dealing with conveyors. In fact, the Mining Regulation 854/90 is very explicit when dealing with conveyors and their guards.

Where was the design engineer in all this? Why was the supervisor not more knowledgeable of the processes and the associated hazards?

There were many other sections that could have been used here. Now that maximum fines have been increased, the onus has been placed on the employer to ensure worker safety.

This particular incident/accident could easily have been avoided with a little hazard investigation, assessment and then place proper hazard controls.

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’, ‘Lockout and Tagout’ 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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