Blog Post #563 – Pasta Quistini Inc., Supervisor Fined Total of $132,000 after Worker Killed By Machinery

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Pasta Quistini Inc., a North York business engaged in preparing and selling pastas, sauces and prepared foods to retailers, restaurants and industrial facilities, has been fined $120,000 after a worker became entangled in a machine and died. A supervisor was also fined $12,000.

On April 11, 2011, a worker was standing on a platform ladder to access the hopper portion of the machine which kneads and cuts pasta dough with an auger. The worker fell into the hopper, which was in operation.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that an interlock switch designed to shut off the machine when a cover to the hopper is opened was not functioning, and that the cover and interlock did not meet the requirements of a guard.

Pasta Quistini Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer were maintained in good condition.

Company part-owner and supervisor Orlando Quistini pleaded guilty to failing, as a supervisor, to take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Mark Conacher. 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:

Pasta Quistini Inc. was found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (b) of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(b) the equipment, materials and protective devices provided by the employer are maintained in good condition.”

Orlando Quistini, a part owner and supervisor, was found guilty of a contravention of section 27, subsection 2(c) of the OHSA which states,

“A supervisor shall,

(c) take every precaution reasonable in the circumstances for the protection of a worker.”

Pasta Quistini Inc. was very lucky not to escape with more fines, or at least a more substantial fine in regards to this accident. Section 25, subsection 1 (b) of the OHSA is very specific when it comes to the condition of any equipment on the jobsite. If it is provided by the employer then section 25, subsection 1(b) must be enforced. It is not an ambiguous statement! It does not include a timetable for repair. It clearly states that any safety device provided by the employer MUST be maintained in good condition. PERIOD!!!

Orlando Quistini should have known the interlock guard was not functioning. Test should be made to determine the fitness of the guard. It appears that Orlando may have been notified of the defective interlock and failed to have it replaced or repaired. That is a direct violation of the OHSA and, in doing so, placed their entire workforce at risk to their safety. Changes would not be forthcoming until one of their employees was harmed or killed.

Too bad Past Quistini Inc. had not studied section 25 and 26 of the ACT (employers’ responsibilities) and section 27 of the ACT (supervisor responsibilities). It would have saved them more than just money. It would have saved a life!

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 – Advanced Level
VP & Senior Trainer
HRS Group Inc.

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