Blog Post #1123 – Meat Processing Company, Cleaning Service Both Fined in Worker Injury in Toronto

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

On January 20, 2017, a worker, employed by Betts Cleaning Specialists Ltd., was cleaning a mixer/grinder machine and was critically injured by the partly-disassembled machine at the Belmont Meat Products Ltd., a meat processor in Toronto, Ontario.

Belmont Meat Products engaged Betts Cleaning Specialists under a service contract to provide sanitation services, including sanitation of production areas and equipment, at the plant. On January 20, 2017, a worker employed by Betts as a sanitation worker was cleaning a mixer/grinder machine at the plant. The machine had been partially disassembled for cleaning.

The worker was cleaning the mixer portion of the machine, which has two counter rotating paddles. The machine was turned on at this time and the paddles were rotating. The worker noticed a piece of meat and reached into the machine, making contact with the rotating paddles. The worker was critically injured and taken by ambulance to hospital for medical treatment.

The Ministry of Labour was notified of the incident later that morning. When the Ministry of Labour inspector arrived at the plant, the involved machine was in operation and the scene of the incident had been interfered with.

Following guilty pleas, Belmont Meat Products was fined $35,000 and Betts Cleaning Specialists was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace Keon Lee at Toronto court, 70 Centre Avenue; Crown Counsel Amanda Landre.

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:

Betts Cleaning Specialists were found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishment’ 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.”

Belmont Meat Products, because they disturbed an accident where a death or critical injury occurred, was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA), section 51, subsection (2) which states,

Section 51(2),

“Where a person is killed or is critically injured at a workplace, no person shall, except for the purpose of,

(a) saving life or relieving human suffering;

(b) maintaining an essential public utility service or a public transportation system; or

(c) preventing unnecessary damage to equipment or other property,

interfere with, disturb, destroy, alter or carry away any wreckage, article or thing at the scene of or connected with the occurrence until permission so to do has been given by an inspector.”

Both companies were in contravention of the 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.”

By the way, the reader may not know the “Critical Injury” definition as described in Ontario regulation 834 so I have listed the definition below;

“For the purposes of the Act and the Regulations,

“critically injured” means an injury of a serious nature that,

(a) places life in jeopardy,

(b) produces unconsciousness,

(c) results in substantial loss of blood,

(d) involves the fracture of a leg or arm but not a finger or toe,

(e) involves the amputation of a leg, arm, hand or foot but not a finger or toe,

(f) consists of burns to a major portion of the body, or

(g) causes the loss of sight in an eye.”

The Ministry of Labour (MOL) is very particular when it comes to disturbing an accident scene. The evidence must be present so that a thorough investigation can be given and a directive for corrective action can be acted upon.

I have to say, this does not happen often but it is very important in the JHSC (Joint Health and Safety Committee training so please ensure that your workplace has a definite safety, one where the employee is not at risk to possible work-related hazards.

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’, ‘Maintenance Safety Awareness’ 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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal

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



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