Blog Post #438 – Quality Meat Packers Limited Fined $70,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the Ontario Government’s ‘Newsroom’

Quality Meat Packers Limited, the Toronto operator of a pork processing plant, was fined $70,000 for a violation of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On February 3, 2011, a worker at the Toronto plant was cleaning a conveyor using a hose. The conveyor was guarded to prevent access to its moving parts. But, when the water pressure in the hose dropped, the worker lifted a guard to get better access to the conveyor with the hose. The worker believed lifting the interlocked guard would stop the conveyor from moving but an electrical switch malfunction stopped this from happening. When the worker put a hand on the still-moving conveyor, the worker’s arm was pulled into its gears.

Quality Meat Packers Limited pleaded guilty to failing to ensure that the machine was cleaned only when motion that may endanger a worker was stopped.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace David Hunt. 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:

Quality Meat Packers 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.”

Safe Operating Procedures, that is what I have been talking about. Every operator needs to be encouraged to believe their employer takes their safety very seriously.

I know I felt that way when I worked for a large corporation. Mind you, they sure had different views in the early years. I can remember receiving what I thought was glasses cleaner as a daily ritual, but instead received windshield washer anti-freeze instead. I cleaned my glasses, put them on and noticed, almost right away, that my eyes were runny. Mind you, that was not unusual around 1975-76-77 time frame.

I am so glad that times have changed and the government expectations have grown since those early years. Most people would agree. The working world needs a safe work environment to grow. Let us ensure that our current workers, as well as those in the future, can expect and receive quality safety advice, PPE and all the controls necessary to deal with any associated hazards in the workplace.

Remember – In Ontario, “ALL Accidents are Preventable”

HRS Group Inc. has a great team that can help you with all your health and safety need including ‘Material Handling’, Lockout and Tagout’ and ‘Proper Lifting Techniques’. 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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