Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’
A worker was critically injured at the Weston Bakeries Ltd., 1425 The Queensway, Etobicoke, Ontario, after being caught in a conveyor belt.
On July 20, 2017, a worker started a shift as the divider line operator, which requires monitoring dough divider lines and ensuring that the dough is formed to the correct weight.
The worker noticed that there was a build-up of dough at the transition between the divider conveyor and the former conveyor. At this point, the worker used an air-line to blow the dough bits off the conveyor belt; despite these efforts, the worker was unable to remove the excess dough.
The worker then tried to brush off the dough. In doing so, the worker became caught between the transition area of the two conveyor belts and was unable to reach the emergency pull cord.
The local fire rescue service needed to take the conveyor line structure apart in order to free the worker. The worker was critically injured.
Although there was normally a guard that would have prevented this from occurring, the guard had been removed and was placed on the floor beside the divider line.
The guard was equipped with a small pressure switch that is used to interlock the cover guarding the divider former lines. When the guard is removed, the conveyor belts between the divider and former lines are supposed to shut down. The interlock pressure switch on the guard was not maintained by the employer and had not worked for years.
Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $65,000 by Justice of the Peace Donovan Robinson in provincial offences court in Newmarket; Crown Counsel Marco Galluzzo.
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.
The law(s) in contravention:
The Weston Bakery was to ensure that a machine had a working guard to protect workers from coming in contact with moving parts. (Section 24 of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishment’ sector regulation 851/90)
Weston Bakery was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) section 25, subsection 1(b) which states,
“An employer shall ensure that,
(b) the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”
It was not enough to have a guard in place but to ensure that it in good working order. Here we find that it was left off because it was not in correct working condition and, therefore, placed the employees at risk.
I wonder if there was a working health and safety committee that should have received training on “Machine Guarding” so they could have been aware and made suggestions for corrective action to management.
“Machine Guarding” training is a good course and speaks to the intent of the law.
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.
‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.
Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.