Blog Post #462 – Maple Leaf Foods Inc. Fined $200,000 after Workers Injured

Excerpt from the Government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Maple Leaf Foods Inc., a Toronto producer of frozen and prepared foods, was fined $200,000 for two violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after workers were injured in two separate incidents.

On July 26, 2010, a worker at the company’s Kitchener factory was operating a machine that folds and glues cardboard into boxes. The machine jammed and the worker opened its gate and reached in to remove the jam. Once the jam was cleared, the machine activated and crushed the worker’s arm.

An investigation found the machine’s moving parts had not been stopped and blocked prior to the worker removing the jam.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the jam was removed only when motion that could endanger the worker was stopped and the machine’s moving parts were blocked.

On December 29, 2010, at the Kitchener factory, a worker was checking a machine to make sure sanitary standards were met before work began for the day. The worker saw a piece of plastic wrap stuck in the machine’s conveyor system. The worker reached in to remove the plastic wrap and the conveyor activated when the debris was dislodged. The worker’s glove got caught in the conveyor and the worker’s hand was pulled into the equipment.

The worker had not been instructed on the proper procedures for removing debris from the machine. The worker was also not taught how to effectively lock out power to the machine.

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was fined $100,000 for failing to ensure that the worker was provided information, instruction and supervision on the safe procedures for cleaning and locking out the machine.

The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Michael Cuthbertson. In addition to the fines, 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:

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was found guilty of violating 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.”

Maple Leaf Foods Inc. was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, sub-section 2(a) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“ An employer shall,

(a) provide information, instruction and supervision to a worker to protect the health or safety of the worker.”

Lockout and Tagout are a main-stay for most and the blocking of the equipment is a large part of the procedure. As well, there is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the employee is complete with all the information, instruction and supervision to allow the employee to work safely.

The employer needed to understand all the hazards associated with the work they provide their employees. If they do not, there is a section of the ACT that will penalize them.

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’, Lockout and Tagout’ 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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