Blog Post #323 – G&K Services Canada Inc. Fined $60,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

G&K Services Canada Inc., a uniform supplier, was fined $60,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

G&K Services Canada Inc. operates an industrial laundry service at its Windsor facility. As part of the laundry process, clothing is placed in a bag with a drawstring at the bottom. The bag moves vertically along a conveyor until it gets to a sensor at the end. When the bag hits the sensor, it is hoisted up into the air.

On September 24, 2009, a worker noticed that the drawstring on a bag was not tied. The worker attempted to tie the bag while walking with it along the conveyor. When the bag hit the sensor, it was hoisted up. The worker’s thumb was entangled in the bag’s drawstring, and the worker was lifted into the air with the bag. The worker’s thumb was amputated by the force of the moving bag.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the emergency stop button on the bag hoist was too high up for a worker to reach in an emergency.

G&K Services Canada Inc. pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the emergency stop button on the bag hoist was located within easy reach of the machine operator.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Robert Gay. In addition to the fine, the court 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:

G & K Services Canada Inc. was found guilty of violating section 27 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851 which states,

“An emergency stop control on a power-driven machine shall,

a) Be conspicuously identified, and
b) Be located within easy reach of the operator.”

Pretty simple, huh? The company did not have the machinery properly engineered to the appropriate legislation. I wonder who or what firm engineered the machinery? Was in an internal job and an external one? Either way, the company was definitely in the wrong and the operator lost a thumb. Funny how the same story occurs but the names change regularly.

The employer MUST review the relevant section of the regulation that applies. At best, the company should have a fully trained H&S Coordinator. At worst, the company should hire a H&S consultant to aid in the design of H&S policies and procedures, especially adequate training  at the beginning of the processes. The money will be well spent and the company will start off well.

Remember — In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

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 

‘Work’ and ‘Play’ safe.

Daniel L. Beal
CHSEP – Foundation Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

P.S. Merry Christmas everyone.

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