Blog Post #1476 – Food Manufacturer Fined $100,000 After Worker Injured by Unguarded Machinery

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

A worker, employed by Handi Foods Ltd., was severely injured by unguarded equipment. Handi Foods Ltd. failed, as an employer, to ensure machinery was guarded to prevent access to its pinch point, as required.

On October 27, 2021, a worker at the Handi Foods Ltd. plant in Toronto was stationed at a production line that was making crackers.

The worker noticed dough accumulating in a roller and attempted to dislodge it, while the machine was operating, by using a tool that could fit through an opening in the mesh cover guard that prevented access to the machine’s pinch point.

When that failed, the worker lifted the hinged cover guard, reached into the area to remove the dough and got caught in the pinch point, becoming severely injured.

The guard was equipped with an interlock switch that was supposed to automatically stop the machine when it was lifted, to prevent injury. However, four days prior the maintenance supervisor had directed a bypass to be installed, allowing the guard to be lifted without stopping the machine. The interlock had been malfunctioning, preventing the machine from running smoothly.

A danger sign was placed on the guard to remind workers about the bypass. Manufacturer’s documentation for the machine stated that its interlocks and guards should not be bypassed.

By the way, the company has a prior conviction relating to a worker being injured by unguarded equipment in 2007.

Handi Foods Ltd. was fined $100,000 following a guilty plea at the Ontario Court of Justice at Old City Hall, Toronto. The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace J. Carter. Crown Counsel was Line Forestier.

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:

Handi Foods Ltd. was found guilty of a contravention Ontario ‘Industrial Establishments’, 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 is in direct 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.”

As a repeat offender and, for another machine guarding accident, I was surprised the fine was so light.

Companies, such as repeat offenders, are usually on the Ministry’s list of regular visits by inspectors.

That doesn’t help the employee in question.

For further information, Machine Guarding continues to be the #1 hazard in “Industrial”. I guess Handi Foods , still, didn’t get the memo.

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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