Blog Post #611 – Coca-Cola Bottling Company Fined $70,000 after Worker Injured

Excerpt from the government of Ontario’s ‘Newsroom’

Coca-Cola Bottling Company, based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, has been fined $70,000 for a violation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act after a worker in a Brampton plant was injured.

On December 1, 2010, a worker was operating a palletizer machine at the company plant located at 15 Westcreek Boulevard in Brampton when the worker noticed that cases of product were becoming stuck on transfer plates. The palletizer machine loads beverage product cases onto pallets for shipping. Due to spillage of pop products, transfer plates become sticky and often interfere with the movement and proper alignment of beverage product cases; workers commonly spray the plates with an aerosol silicone spray to overcome the sticking. The safety equipment on the palletizer machines includes a gate that is interlocked so the palletizer machine stops if the gate is opened.

In this incident the worker proceeded to reach inside the opening in the gate to spray the plate with silicone without shutting off the production line. As the worker did so, a push bar cycled on and pinched the worker’s arm between the push bar and a metal support beam. The worker suffered a fractured arm as a result.

Coca-Cola Bottling Company pleaded guilty to failing, as an employer, to ensure that an in-running nip hazard on the palletizer that endangered the safety of a worker was equipped with and guarded with a device that prevents access to the pinch point as required by the Occupational Health and Safety Act, and was fined $70,000.

The fine was imposed by Justice of the Peace Richard Quon. 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:

Coca-Cola Bottling Company was found guilty of a contravention of 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.”

Coca-Cola was also found guilty of a contravention of section 25, subsection 1 (a) of the Occupational Health and Safety Act (OHSA) which states,

“An employer shall ensure that,

(a) the equipment, materials and protective devices as prescribed are provided.”

Machine guarding is such a crucial part of almost any workplace, be it construction, mining or industrial. The need to protect the worker from moving parts is listed in every sector specific regulations and is, at the present time, a standard topic in Basic Certification Level 1 training. (HRS Group Inc. is an approved provider)

Please ensure that all of you machinery tools or equipment be equipped with an engineered guard to protect your workers. As well, the MOL is pushing to have the employer ensure that the worker receives all the protective devices required in the OHSA and appropriate sector regulations and training with all protective devices.

It is just that simple. I am amused a company the size of Coca-Cola has not been vigilant.

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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