Blog Post #410 – Sureteco Canada Ltd. Fined $50,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Surteco Canada Ltd., carrying on business as Doellken-Woodtape, an international manufacturer of plastic edging for use on furniture, was fined $50,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On March 30, 2010, a worker at the company’s Brampton plant was cleaning out a hopper. The worker reached a hand into the hopper while an auger inside it was slowly rotating. The worker’s hand was injured when it was caught by the auger and trapped against the hopper wall.

Surteco Canada Ltd., carrying on business as Doellken-Woodtape, pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the auger had stopped rotating before the worker began cleaning the hopper.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Thomas McKeogh. 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:

Sureteco Canada Ltd., was found guilty of a contravention of section 75 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A part of a machine, transmission machinery, device or thing shall be cleaned, oiled, adjusted, repaired or have maintenance work performed on it only when,

(a) Motion that may endanger a worker has stopped; and
(b) Any part that has been stopped and that may subsequently move and endanger a worker has been blocked to prevent its movement.”

I was surprised to find that a hopper was cleaned while running in the first place. A hopper is a defined confined space and a plan should have been in place to treat it as such, one that recognized the hazards before hand.

Lockout and tagout training also includes a possible blocking of any moving parts that may actuate when maintenance is being done on the machine. Again, we had a situation where the process was not set up as SOPs (safe operating procedures) and the worker was injured.

Prevention is the key! First all foreseeable hazards have to be identified, assessed and, finally, suggested controls MUST be in place prior to any work is being done and while any work is being done.

I wonder if this company had a Health and Safety Co-ordinator. If they do, then he/she is either incompetent or ineffective. Either way, the company is held responsible and workers continue to be injured, needlessly, on the job.

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’, ‘Machine Guarding’ 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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