Blog Post #407 – Tupling Farms Ltd. Fined $90,000 after Worker Killed

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s Newsroom’

Tupling Farms Ltd., a Shelburne potato farm, was fined $90,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was killed.

On September 21, 2010, on a field in the Township of Melancthon, workers were harvesting potatoes. Some plant material got tangled in the harvester and the workers cleared it away. The operator of the harvester was then signaled to reverse the machine. While in reverse it rolled over and killed a worker who, unbeknownst to the operator, had moved from the front of the harvester.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that Tupling Farms Ltd. had not developed or implemented any written procedures for safely cleaning debris from the harvester.

Tupling Farms Ltd. pleaded guilty to failing to take the reasonable precaution of developing and implementing written procedures for the safe clearing of debris from a harvester.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Barnes. 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:

Tupling Farms Ltd., was found guilty of violating section 25, sub-section 2(h) of the OHSA which states,

“The employer shall take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Seems simple, doesn’t it? The world may change and people may change but we hear, more and more, about those that do not even consider a set of safe operating procedures (SOPs) when building a new business or when changes to the business are new and procedures are to be produced. All operating procedures need to have safety added as part of the program. All possible hazards have to be identified and corrective action taken. The operators have to be competent in Ontario which can be described this way,

1) The operator must have the training to go with knowledge and experience to organize the work,
2) The operator must know the ACT and the appropriate regulations concerning the training and the work to be done, and
3) The operator MUST know all the associated hazards that would deal with the training and the work.”

I noticed, in this case, that the Ontario ‘Farming’ regulation 414/05 was not used. It would be interesting to know what sector specific inspector was used in this case. I have not met an inspector from the Farming sector. I wonder if there is anything remotely close to this accident somewhere in the ‘Farming’ regulation. If it does not exist, you can bet that changes are forthcoming.

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 ‘Due Diligence’ and ‘Standard Operating Procedures’. 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.

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