Blog Post #1289 – Injury in Meat Packing Plant Results in $50,000 Fine for Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

 A worker, employed at the Erie Meat Products Ltd. Plant in Mississauga, Ontario, was cleaning excess packaging from a machine was injured after removing interlocking guards from the front of the machine. The company failed to ensure that the hot dog loader/packer machine was locked-out when the worker was removing excess plastic.

On October 12, 2018, a temporary worker was cleaning a hot dog loader/packer machine. The worker removed the interlocking guards from the front of the machine to clean any excess plastic packaging. This exposed the machine and its pre-heating plate.

As the worker was attempting to remove excess plastic, the machine was actuated and the worker was injured by the machine’s plates. The injured worker was taken to hospital.

During a subsequent Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development inspection, it was learned that the machine was not locked-out when the injured worker was removing excess plastic from the machine, as required by the Regulation for Industrial Establishments (Ontario Regulation 851) under the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

As such, Erie Meats committed the offence of failing, as an employer, to ensure that the measures and procedures prescribed by section 76 of the regulation, as amended, were carried out in the workplace contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the act. 

Following a guilty plea, Erie Meat Products Ltd. was fined $50,000 in provincial offences court in Stratford by Justice of the Peace Gordon Chaput; Crown Counsel Mike Nicol.

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:

Erie Meat Products Ltd. Was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ regulation 851/90, section 76 which states,

 “Where the starting of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing may endanger the safety of a worker,

(a)  control switches or other control mechanisms shall be locked out; and

(b)  other effective precautions necessary to prevent any starting shall be taken.”

Erie Meat Products Ltd. was also found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (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.”

Lockout and Tagout is a course that every company needs to train on and create company policies and procedures to ensure that all workers are as safe as they possibly can.

Looks like Erie Meat Products did not get the memo.

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety needs including ‘Electrical Safety Awareness’ and ‘Lockout and Tagout’. 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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