Blog Post #1290 – Cutting Blade Injury Results in $40,000 Fine for Essex Company

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Delta Wire & Mfg. of Essex, Ontario, was injured after coming into contact with a cutting blade, which should have been equipped with a guard to prevent injury as required by law. The owner of the business is Amer-Can Investments, Inc.

On October 29, 2018, a labourer was operating a shear cutter at the factory to turn a sheet of metal stock material into various smaller sizes. The cutter was equipped with a home-made clamp-down device that had been fabricated to hold material in place prior to cycling the shear cutter. The task required continuous movement and re-positioning of the decreasing metal sheet as small pieces were cut off.  The metal sheet would become jammed in the cutter as it was fed under the clamp-down device.

While trying to unjam the metal sheet on this occasion, the worker inadvertently activated the foot control pedal which cycles the shear press, and came in contact with the shear blade. The injury required surgery.

A Ministry of Labour Training and Skills Development investigation into the incident determined that although there was a manufacturer’s guard on the shear cutter, the attachment of the home-made clamp-down device on the cutter had pushed the guard out of position, resulting in a gap of approximately four inches between the bottom of the guard and the top of the shear bed.  This allowed access to the shear cutter’s moving blade.

The defendant failed as an employer to ensure the measures and procedures prescribed by section 24 of the regulation were complied with, contrary to section 25(1)(c) of the act.  This is an offence contrary to section 66(1) of the act.

Following a guilty plea, Amer-Can Investments Inc. was fined $40,000 in provincial offences court in Windsor by Justice Susan Hoffman; 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:

Amer-Can Investments Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’, section 24 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.

This is contrary to the 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.”

Machine Guarding continues to be the #1 hazard in the Industrial world toady, at least in Ontario.

Before Covid, the MOL was completing blitzes for possible ‘Machine Guarding’ violations during the early part of 2020. As we all know, Covid-19 took care of the rest of 2020 and almost all of 2021.

Hopefully, the MOL will return to form and begin to inspect for Machine Guarding. This type of accident could have been prevented if the machines were designed with proper safety guards in place AND proper periodic review to ensure compliance with section 24, ‘Machine Guarding’, and section 25, ‘Pinch Points’.

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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