Blog Post #583 – Unitec and 629728 Ontario Ltd. Fined $410,000 – Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Unitec Inc. and 629728 Ontario Limited, in a partnership carrying on business as Entropex Limited, a Sarnia plastics company, were fined $410,000 total for violations of the Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker was injured.

On September 14, 2010, a worker operated a baling machine that compacted and strapped plastic at 1271 Lougar Avenue in Sarnia. A second worker walked in front of the machine as compacted plastic was being ejected. The plastic struck the second worker and pinned that worker against a nearby forklift, causing injuries.

The court found that the baler was not guarded to prevent worker access, not maintained in good condition, and that maintenance was performed on the baler while it was in motion. The court also found that Entropex had failed, as an employer, to provide information, instruction, and supervision to protect workers around the baler.

629728 Ontario Limited and Unitec Inc. were convicted on all counts and fined $210,000 and $200,000 respectively. The fines were imposed by Justice of the Peace Jamie Shortt. 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:

Both companies were found guilty of a contravention of the following sections of the Ontario Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) and the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90,

• Section 26 of the Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 which states,

“A machine shall be shielded or guarded so that the product, material being processed or waste stock will not endanger the safety of any worker.”

• 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.”

• Section 25, subsection 1(b) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

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

• Section 25, subsection 2(a) of the OHSA which states,

“An employer shall,

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

This has my full attention! How could anyone be placed at risk when a small amount of prevention would have eliminated the issue? Where were the safe operating procedures? (SOPs) Was there a safety-aspect meeting prior to the operation being initiated? Why was the focus not on the employee instead of the bottom line? All these questions should have been asked and answered before any work was to be done.

In this case, there were two companies not in compliance. Both had twice the chance of hiring someone with safety training and experience that would have recognized the potential hazards and required some sort of controls in place.

Machine guarding is a major part of issues in the industrial world. If your company falls under the ‘Industrial’ sector’ please read sections 24-39 of Ontario ‘Industrial’ regulation 851/90 to cover any of the possible machine guarding situations.

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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