Blog Post – #1183 – Conveyor Injury in St. Thomas, Grower Fined $55,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

During the shift of Oct. 30, 2017, a worker was critically injured while trying to extricate a broken polystyrene plant tray from a conveyor.

The company involved was Ontario Plants Propagation Limited, 38024 John Wise Line, St. Thomas, Ontario, a company that owns and operates a farming operation that grows plant stock for greenhouses.

The workplace line includes three gravity roller conveyors side by side, on which polystyrene plant trays are moved. The line also includes a plant transfer robot programmed to place various-sized starter plant plugs into the trays as they move along the conveyors. On the day of the incident, workers were tasked with retrieving full trays from the line and placing them onto wheeled carts.

One of the workers noticed a broken and dislodged plant tray on the centre conveyor at the load/feed assembly of the plant transfer robot. The worker stepped up on to the frame of the gravity roller conveyor assembly in order to reach the tray. The worker used a 2½-foot homemade grab hook but was unable to reach the tray.

The machine was not locked out and the conveyor continued to move. As such, the worker had to lean into the interior of the robot to reach the tray.

While the worker was leaning in, the robot cycled and moved across the three conveyors, pinning the worker. The worker suffered critical injuries.

The robot had exposed moving parts that endangers the safety of workers. The robot was not equipped with or guarded by a guard or other device that would prevent access to such moving parts.

Following a guilty plea, the company was fined $55,000 in St. Thomas provincial court by Justice of the Peace Walter W. Rojek; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan. (April 29, 2019)

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:

Ontario Plants Propagation Limited was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupation al 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.”

Ontario Plants Propagation Limited, even though it was not an ‘Industrial Establishment’ was discussed not in compliance of section 24 of the ‘Industrial’ sector 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.”

Any which way you look at it, the employer must do everything reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of the worker.

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 

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.




1 thought on “Blog Post – #1183 – Conveyor Injury in St. Thomas, Grower Fined $55,000”

Leave a Comment