Blog Post #1241 – Mushroom Grower Fined $90,000 After Worker Pulled into Conveyor

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker suffered critical injuries after being caught and dragged into a conveyor on September 20, 2018. The worker was employed by Highline Produce Limited, a business that grows and sells mushrooms. The accident occurred at the company’s growing facility at 339 Conley Road, Wellington/Prince Edward County, Ontario.

A worker was working as part of the clean-up crew in the mushroom-growing facility’s spawn area. The worker was washing down the concrete ramp to the spawn area’s overhead door and was called over to work on cleaning up the compost which had been knocked off the green feed hopper onto the concrete pad below.

The green feed conveyor is located outside the spawn area buildings. This equipment feeds the green compost up into the spawn area for production. It is an angled conveyor and hopper, which consists of chain-driven cross bars and a fixed flat pan conveyor. The bars move up the flat pan, dragging material to the top.

The worker began to assist the lead hand by cleaning the compost from under and around the conveyor, which was stationary at the time. While this work was being performed, the lead hand went to the control panel, removed the lock and started the conveyor, which began to move.

The worker started to walk in front of the conveyor, slipped on some wet compost on the ground and fell. The worker reached out and grabbed one of the conveyor bars to try to stop the fall. In so doing, the worker was caught in the bars of the moving conveyor, and was being dragged up and into the conveyor. No guards were in place to prevent the worker from being pulled into the moving conveyor.

As a result of being caught and dragged, the worker suffered multiple critical injuries.

Highline failed to take the reasonable precaution of ensuring that the green feed conveyor/hopper was locked out while it and the area around it were being cleaned, contrary to section 25(2)(h) of the act. This is an offence pursuant to section 66(1) of the act.

Following a guilty plea, Highline Produce Limited was fined $90,000 by Justice of the Peace Ernest Parsons in provincial offences court in Picton; Crown Counsel Judy L. Chan.

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:

Highline Produce Limited was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational 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.”

Another machine guarding concern. It may not be an ‘Industrial’ sector event but section 24 of the ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 has been contravened. It 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.”

Too bad Highline Produce Limited has never looked inside the green book!

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.


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