Blog Post #1321 – Worker Injury Results in $50,000 Fine for Toronto Food Products Producer

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Select Food Products of Toronto, Ontario, was injured while trying to remove a stuck label on a labeler machine. The labeler machine was not equipped with a guard that prevented access to the pinch point as required by law. Select Food Products is an industrial establishment that manufactures, produces and packages food products (sauces and condiments).

On April 17, 2019, a linesperson employed by Select Food Products was operating a labeler machine on a salad dressing line. The worker was trying to remove a label that was stuck on a gluing pallet (also referred to as a labeler plate), inside the machine.

The labeler machine puts labels on the front and back of salad dressing bottles and has hinged access doors equipped with interlocking devices which are designed to stop the motion of the machine when the doors are opened. The machine was equipped with a safety bypass switch that allowed the interlocking devices for the hinged access doors to be bypassed, allowing worker access to hazardous moving parts and pinch points such as those created by the motion of the gluing pallets and the glue roller.

With the safety bypass switch in the ‘safety off’ position, the worker opened the middle-hinged access door and reached in to remove a label that was jammed on the gluing pallet by the back label applicator. This resulted in pinching between a gluing pallet and the glue roller, and the worker was injured.

The investigation by the Ministry of Labour, Training and Skills Development found that the labeler machine was not equipped with a guard that prevented access to the pinch point.

Following a guilty plea in provincial offences court in Toronto’s Old City Hall court, Select Food Products was fined $50,000 by Justice of the Peace Chris Triantafilopoulos; Crown Counsel Alicia Gordon-Fagan.

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:

Select Food Products was found guilty of a contravention of the Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’ regulation 851/90, section 25 which states,

“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

This contravention is contrary to 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.”

I just could not fathom how a machine can be so engineered to have a by-pass that is in direct contravention of the Machine Guarding sections listed in the ‘Industrial’ regulation.

The engineering department could easily have been found guilty of section 31, subsection (2) states,

“If a professional engineer as defined in the Professional Engineers Act, contravenes this Act if, as a result of his or her advice that is given or his or her certification required under this Act that is made negligently or incompetently, a worker is endangered.”

No engineer is worth his/her weight if they cannot adhere to the safety regulations listed in the OHSA or appropriate sector regulations.

By the way, as a repeat reader of this blog, one can tell that “Machine Guarding” continues to be the number 1 problem in the ‘Industrial’ sector.

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
CEO & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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