Blog Post #566 – Metro Paper Industries Inc. Fined $70,000

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Metro Paper Industries Inc., a manufacturer of recycled paper products, has been fined $70,000 after a worker was severely injured by the blades of a machine.

On November 28, 2011, a worker approached a machine at the company’s Scarborough location. The machine, which folds and cuts paper into napkins, had a clear plastic guard; the worker placed a hand under the guard to reach inside the machine. These actions were contrary to the training provided by the company and contrary to a sign posted on the machine.

After placing an arm inside the machine, the worker inadvertently moved forward which resulted in the hand coming into contact with the blades affixed to the machine’s out-feed rollers. As a result of the contact, fingers were severed.

A Ministry of Labour investigation found that the employer failed to ensure that a machine was guarded as prescribed by law. Metro Paper Industries Inc. pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to comply with the regulation for industrial establishments.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Vladimir Bubrin. 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:

Metro Paper Industries Inc. was found guilty of violating section 25 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“An in-running nip hazard or any part of a machine, device or thing that may endanger the safety of any worker shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the pinch point.”

I believe section 24 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 would have been more appropriate. It states,

“Where a machine or prime mover or transmission equipment has an exposed moving part that may endanger the safety of any worker, the machine or prime mover or transmission equipment shall be equipped with and guarded by a guard or other device that prevents access to the moving part.”

That goes for any machine on any work-site be it in the ‘industrial’, construction, healthcare or mining sectors.

It looks to me that this was not a special occurrence but one that was ongoing. The supervisor should have recognized the situation and placed the operator on disciplinary leave. Progressive discipline is the first step in ‘Due Diligence’ and the employer and supervisor should have been aware of the unlawful use of the machinery.

Section 28 of the OHSA states,

“A worker shall,

(a) Work in compliance with the provisions of this Act and the regulations; and

(c) Report to his or her employer or supervisor the absence of or defect in any equipment or protective device of which the worker is aware and which may endanger himself, herself or another worker; and

(d) Report to his or her employer or supervisor any contravention of this Act or the regulations or the existence of any hazard of which he or she knows.”

Please ensure your workers, supervisors and well as middle managers are well trained. To be competent to complete a task in Ontario takes training, experience, proper instruction and finally, supervision to be deemed competent under the law.

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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